Rap music exec Marcus Morton is talking his way into the film business with the launch of his feature development, financing and production company, Absolute Entertainment.
The outfit’s first pic will be the urban comedy “3 Strikes,” to be written and directed by rap artist-producer D.J. Pooh.
Pic is story of a young black who, after serving time for his second conviction, finds himself wrongfully implicated in a crime that would give him his third strike and send him back to the slammer for life.
Morton will produce the pic, and Benny Medina (“Above the Rim”) will exec produce. Pooh and Morton will oversee the soundtrack. Casting is under way on “Strikes,” which will begin lensing this fall.
Absolute will use Morton’s knowledge of the music biz to make its set of hip, edgy and urban-driven pics.
“We will work with many of today’s rising talents in both the feature film and music worlds, as well as draw from a wealth of aspiring writers and directors,” Morton said.
But the company won’t confine itself to the urban genre. “We’ll be looking at a wide range of both alternative and mainstream projects,” Morton added.
Absolute initially plans to make three pics a year, financed by a combination of inhouse equity and distribution fees. The company will fully finance pics costing $5 million or less from a fund stoked by private investors; it will seek out partners for its bigger-budget films.
Morton will bring a previously financed pic — teen drama “American Pie,” starring Linda Hamilton, Eugene Levy and Majandra Delfino — under the Absolute banner. “Pie” was written and directed by Holly Goldberg Sloan.
Pooh, who has directed some musicvids and commercials, will make his feature debut with “3 Strikes.” Together with fellow rapper Ice Cube, he wrote the New Line Cinema sleeper hit “Friday,” the directorial debut of F. Gary Gray (“The Negotiator”).
As a record producer, Pooh has worked with Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, Shaquille O’Neal, Ice Cube and Tupac. In 1992 he founded Da Bomb Records.
Morton is a former vice president of EMI Records, heading all its rap music marketing and promotion, as well as the label’s West Coast operations.
Linda Lichter of Lichter, Grossman, Nichols & Adler repped Morton and Absolute. Susan Adamson and Medina negotiated for Pooh.