Gooding in talks to topline

Ken Kwapis will take the helm of “Fighting Temptations” at MTV Films and Paramount Pictures.

“Temptations” is set in the world of gospel music, pic follows a young L.A. hip-hop maven who returns to Alabama for his aunt’s funeral. Once there, he starts a gospel choir and makes peace with his roots. Cuba Gooding is in talks for the “Snow Dogs” star to topline as the flustered impresario.

Par had bought the pic in 1999, based on a spec script by former Universal Pictures development exec-cum-scribe Elizabeth Hunter and Rick Famuyiwa, which was rewritten by David Raynor.

Most recently, Kwapis has been working in television, having helmed pilots for both Bernie Mac’s “The Bernie Mac Show” on Fox and Julia- Louis Dreyfus’ “Watching Ellie” on the Peacock. The Writers & Artists-repped helmer is best known as a director and producer of Fox hit skein “Malcolm in the Middle.”

Paramount’s MTV Films will produce with Handprint Entertainment, while Par’s senior veepee of production Dede Gardner will oversee the pic’s lensing.

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