Def Jam Records is joining forces with Paramount and MTV Films to produce an untitled military comedy for hip-hop team Method Man and Redman.
Rap impresario and Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons will produce the pic with Def Jam’s Lyor Cohen, Kevin Liles and Julie Greenwald. Also producing are Shauna Garr and James Ellis, who run the rap duo’s production shingle, Native Pictures, and MTV Films’ David Gale and Michael Cole.
Brian Posehn, who wrote for now-defunct HBO skein “Mr. Show,” is penning the script.
Pic is a fish-out-of-water story following the duo’s misadventures after they join the military and embark on a covert campaign overseas.
After toplining Universal/Jersey Films’ Cheech and Chong-style romp “How High” last year, Method Man and Redman have put several projects into development.
Don Scott is writing an untitled action/comedy casting the CAA-repped pair as drug cops for U and Jersey, and New Line and Davis Entertainment are developing the urban comedy “Ghetto, Inc.,” about three best friends who decide to form a rap label as their ticket out of the ‘hood. Native Pictures is also producing both pics.
Method Man has just been cast in Eddie Griffin’s Miramax comedy “My Baby’s Mama,” joining a new wave of rap stars toplining Hollywood pics. Recent months have seen Mos Def cast in “The Italian Job” and Ludacris and Ja Rule cast in “The Fast and the Furious 2.” Rappers Eve and DMX appeared in recent release “XXX.”
As Method Man and Redman’s label, Def Jam released the “How High” soundtrack and maintains close ties to Native Pictures. But the new MTV Films project is the first time the label has come on board to produce one of their films. That could lead to a new range of cross-promotional possibilities for the music label, MTV and the film’s producers.
“We truly consider Def Jam a lifestyle company that happens to sell records. So we’re always looking for ways to create extensions of our brand that make sense,” Def Jam’s Kevin Liles said. “With film, clothing and beverage ventures and endorsements in play, artists like DMX, Jay Z, Ja Rule and Ludacris constantly raise the bar for all recording artists, not just hip-hop artists. We couldn’t ask for better partners.”
(Dave McNary contributed to this report.)