Thesp, Tollin/Robbins to produce 'Don' comedy

HOLLYWOOD — MGM has acquired the spec script “Don Cornelius” for Cuba Gooding Jr. to executive produce through his newly formed production shingle Feel Good Prods. He may also star in the laffer.

The comedy, about a straight-laced African American accountant who traces his family roots and discovers that his father is a mob boss, was written by Nick Guthe.

The scribe, who will receive mid- six figures for the writing effort, has also penned and will direct the dark comedy “Mini’s First Time” for RKO Pictures.

“Don Cornelius” becomes the first movie Gooding Jr. has set up and will produce through his Los Angeles-based company, which is headed up by Tierre Turner, a stunt coordinator on the pics “Like Mike,” “Training Day” and “Snow Dogs,” as well as Gooding Jr.’s stunt double on “Pearl Harbor.”

Terms of the deal with MGM currently call for Gooding Jr. to exec produce. But should he opt to star, Gooding Jr. would then become a producer on the project.

Either way, Tollin/Robbins Prods., which is producing Revolution Studios’ football drama “Radio,” in which Gooding Jr. stars, will produce the laffer. Banner also has produced the pics “Summer Catch,” “Varsity Blues” and “Ready to Rumble.”

Eric Paquette will oversee “Don Cornelius” at the Lion.

Gooding Jr. is wrapping up production on the comedy “The Fighting Temptations” for Paramount Pictures before segueing into “Radio,” alongside Ed Harris in November. He will next be seen in “Boat Trip,” the comedy Artisan Pictures is releasing wide in January. Pic was produced and financed by Motion Picture Corp of America, Intl West Pictures, ApolloMedia and Gemini Films.

Gooding Jr. is repped by 3 Arts Entertainment and attorney Jake Bloom.

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