Ben Vereen, Patti Labelle and More Join OutKast Movie Musical Due in 2006

News   Ben Vereen, Patti Labelle and More Join OutKast Movie Musical Due in 2006
 
Current Wicked wizard Tony Award winner Ben Vereen and recent Los Angeles Chicago star and Grammy winner Patti Labelle join the cast of the upcoming HBO Films movie musical featuring the hip-hop duo OutKast, set to debut in 2006.
Ben Vereen
Ben Vereen

Three-time Tony Award winner Hinton Battle (The Tap Dance Kid) choreographs the film production (the title of which has not been announced) written and directed by Bryan Barber — who teamed with the duo on the videos for "Hey Ya" and "Roses" (an homage to West Side Story) off their dual album "Speakerboxx/The Love Below."

OutKast's Andre "3000" Benjamin and Antwan "Big Boi" Patton will star in the musical, a first for HBO Films, shot on location in Wilmington, NC, and at Universal City, CA. Universal Pictures has acquired worldwide distribution rights and will release the film wide in 2006 following the soundtrack release on LaFace/Zomba Label Group in late 2005.

The cast also includes Ving Rhames ("Mission: Impossible"), Terrence Dashon Howard ("Hustle & Flow"), Faizon Love ("Elf"), Malinda Williams ("Soul Food"), Paula Jai Parker ("She Hate Me"), Jackie Long ("Lovewrecked"), newcomer Paula Patton, singer Macy Gray ("Lackawanna Blues") and Emmy winner Cicely Tyson ("Fried Green Tomatoes").

Set in a 1930s southern speakeasy, the film's plot follows a piano player (Benjamin), and lead performer-manager (Patton) "through intersecting stories of love and ambition," according to a release. The work will include singing and dancing to contemporary music including hits from the aforementioned 2003 Grammy Award winning Album of the Year as well as original songs written by OutKast to appear on a forthcoming release.

HBO Films presentations have included the screen versions of the Tectonic Theatre's The Laramie Project and Tony Kushner's Angels in America and Ruben Santiago-Hudson's Lackawanna Blues directed by George C. Wolfe. Recent films have include stage stars as Kenneth Branagh and Cynthia Nixon in "Warm Springs;" Paul Newman, Ed Harris and Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Empire Falls;" Antonio Banderas in "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself;" Alan Rickman and Mos Def in "Something the Lord Made" and Avenue Q's Jordan Gelber in "Everyday People." Former high school rivals, Andre 3000 (Andre Benjamin) and Big Boi (Antwan Patton) formed OutKast out of mutual respect for each other's skills. The group signed right out of high school went on to record the albums "ATLiens," "Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik," "Aquemini," and their Grammy-winning "Stankonia." Among their songs are "Player's Ball," "B.O.B.," "So Fresh, So Clean," "Rosa Parks," "The Whole World," "Ms. Jackson" and "The Way You Move."

For more information on HBO Films, visit the website at www.hbo.com/films.

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