Topliners play cops on opposite sides of homicide probe

NEW YORK — Ving Rhames has committed to star with Kurt Russell in “The Plague Season,” the Ron Shelton-directed drama scripted by James Ellroy (“L.A. Confidential”) and rewritten by David Ayer (“Training Day”). The Intermedia-financed drama is eyeing a prestrike start, with a domestic distribution deal expected to be finalized shortly.

In the drama, Russell and Rhames play L.A. cops on opposite sides in the investigation of a racially charged robbery homicide, which takes place in the days leading up to the L.A. riots that followed the acquittal of L.A. policemen on trial for the beating of motorist Rodney King.

Seeking partners

Casting is under way for a young partner working with the cop played by Russell, with “Felicity” star Scott Speedman on the short list for the part, as well as a black female working with the cop played by Rhames.

The film is produced by Alphaville’s Caldecott Chubb, Jim Jacks and Sean Daniel, with Intermedia’s Guy East, Nigel Sinclair and Moritz Borman exec producing.

The WMA-repped Rhames just wrapped starring with Wesley Snipes in “Undisputed,” a prison boxing drama for Millennium Films which was directed by Walter Hill, and he also recently starred for director John Singleton in “Baby Boy” for Columbia Pictures.

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