Three-time Tony Award winner Hinton Battle (The Tap Dance Kid) choreographs the film 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 acquired worldwide distribution rights and expects to wide release the film theatrically March 10. A soundtrack release on LaFace/Zomba Label Group is forthcoming.
Vereen and Labelle — recent stars of Broadway's Wicked and Los Angeles' Chicago respectively — are joined in the ensemble by Ving Rhames ("Mission: Impossible"), Terrence 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 shy 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 2003 Grammy Award winning Album of the Year "Speakerboxx/The Love Below" as well as original songs written by OutKast.
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 and a trailer of "Idlewild," visit the website at www.idlewild.net.