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December 2001
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CUBE AND EPPS BUSY TEAM

Ice Cube is fast becoming a heavy-hitter in Hollywood. His production company, Cube Vision, is putting the finishing touches on "All About the Benjamins," due March 8, and "Friday After Next," slated to be released around next Thanksgiving. Both films star Cube and funnyman partner Mike Epps of "Next Friday," fame.



MICHAEL JACKSON TO CO-DIRECT

Michael Jackson is preparing to co-direct a new movie called "Home of the Angels." The movie is a coming-of-age story about a young orphan, and is based on a true story. "It's kind of 'Stand By Me' with a little bit of 'Oliver,'" co-director Bryan Michael Stoller told Rolling Stone. "It's a dramatic piece ... a pretty emotional piece." The two bought the rights to the story and are currently looking to cast the film and are shopping the idea to major studios. In addition to his directorial debut, Jackson will also score
the film. Shooting on the project is scheduled to begin in May.



LAMONT BENTLY IS TUPAC FOR VH-1

Lamont Bentley of "Moesha" fame will play Tupac Shakur in the VH-1 movie "Too Legit to Quit: The MC Hammer Story." The actor says he always felt a special kinship with the rap music icon. "I met Tupac once at a music industry party," he recalls. "Although we didn’t talk long, I immediately felt a connection with him that made me think that our paths would again cross someday. Little did I know that he would be killed and that I would play him in a movie." Check local listings for air times.



HIP-HOP STAR IS BORN

Producer Jon Peters (Ali, Wild Wild West), has been hinting at doing a remake of "A Star Is Born." It's reportedly going to be a hip-hop version, and Peters is said to be wanting to team Will Smith with Alicia Keys, and while Peters had no comment, sources developing the project confirmed it exists. The storyline normally requires the male lead to die, but souces say in Peter's version something more mysterious will happen.



SNOOP WANTS STEFANI

Rapper/actor Snoop Dogg says he wants No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani to star in his new project, "Lady T and Mojo Slim." Apparently, Snoop, who thinks she looks like Marilyn Monroe, thinks she has a great look for the part of the policeman's daughter in the film. Snoop will play a small-time crook who falls in for her. "It's actually a black and white love affair," Snoop told World Entertainment News Network. "But the woman that I see in my mind should look like Marilyn Monroe because it's set in the sixties. Stefani could do that." Snoop's next film, "Crime Partners," is due early next year.


FOREST & FAT ALBERT

Actor/director/filmmaker Forest Whitaker is set to direct the live-action adaptation of Bill Cosby's cartoon "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids." Cosby is currently writing the film and the plan is to release the flick sometime in the summer of 2003.


WHOOPI WORKS FOR PBS

Whoopi Goldberg, Dustin Hoffman, and Ben Stiller are lending their voices for the animated PBS special "Liberty Kids." The 40-part cartoon series will chronicle the adventures of historical figures from the Revolutionary War. Goldberg voices Continental Army heroine Deborah Sampson. "Liberty Kids" will air on PBS beginning Memorial Day 2002. Also, Whoopi in stars in "Call Me Clause," throughout December on TNT.



GLOVER A REFUGEE

Danny Glover has finished his project about 'Toussant L'Overture' and the Haitian refugees. And before anyone can ask, Glover says: "No! There's not going to be a Lethal Weapon 5."



BERRY A BOND GIRL

Halle Berry may be the next James Bond femme fatale, according to Variety, but only if she can juggle her schedule to fit it in. She is currently under contract for the "X-Men" sequels which have already made her turn down one movie. The new Bond film will start lensing in January and if all goes well, Berry will be there.



ORLANDO JONES HAS THE BEAT

Comedian and 7 Up pitch man Orlando Jones looks to be starring in the comedy "Drumline," described as a sort of "Bring It On," but focussed on a black college's marching band. Jones will play the black band's musical director under pressure to win a marching band championship. Fox 2000 films plans to start filming this month.



QD III PREPS THUG ANGEL

"Thug Angel: The Life and Times of Tupac Shakur" will be the first DVD title released by QD3 Entertainment under a new deal with Image Entertainment, and is tentatively set for release in March 2002. "Thug Angel" features all new footage and interviews to tell the story of the controversial late hip-hop artist. QD3, founded by Quincy D. Jones III (son of music pioneer Quincy Jones), expects to eventually release 12 urban and hip-hop related home video titles through its production agreement with Image.



LAWRENCE SET TO BOMB

After "Big Momma's House" and "Black Knight," comedian Martin Lawrence and screenwriter Darryl Quarles are set to team for a third time on the Warner Bros. comedy "The Bomb." Lawrence is in negotiations to star in the project, which is described as a black remake of the 1979 comedy "10" which starred Bo Derek and Dudley Moore. Lensing is slated to start in February after Lawrence wraps a cross-country stand-up comedy tour in January. "Bomb" is about a married record executive who has a midlife crisis and chases a model to the Caribbean. Lawrence will be seen next in opposite Steve Zahn in Columbia Pictures' "National Security."



LEWIS STEPPING OUT OF RING

Heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis announced recently, "I'm working on a new film with Wyclef Jean in Jamaica called "Shottaz," after that then we'll see. I loved working on Ocean's Eleven - I'll be playing a very bad man. I'll be playing myself."