O'Brien, Bythewood script reunites 'Romeo' crew

Jet Li will reteam with DMX, director Andrzej Bartkowiak and producer Joel Silver in “Cradle to the Grave,” a Warner Bros.-based action drama set to begin production in February.

That quartet teamed for the hit “Romeo Must Die,” and the new film promises the same formula of a modest budget, lots of action and a strong soundtrack. Scripted by John O’Brien and Reggie Bythewood, “Cradle to the Grave” pits a law enforcement officer (Li) against a streetwise entrepreneur (DMX) who’s suspected of being part of a global diamond heist. The adversaries find themselves uneasily aligned as the cop helps the crook find his daughter, who’s been kidnapped by a dangerous man bent on acquiring the diamonds as part of a scheme for mass destruction.

“It’s an exciting movie that’s a topical but not threatening premise, with some awesome action beats,” Silver said.

Finally committed

DMX, who has long flirted with the role, committed to the role just as the rapper-turned-actor signed with William Morris. Agency signing culminated a courtship of the major percenteries by his manager Ray Copeland and attorney Darrell Miller.

DMX made his debut in “Romeo Must Die” and followed that with the hit “Exit Wounds,” also produced by Silver and directed by Bartkowiak. Copeland and Miller made the “Cradle” deal, but WMA, which will rep DMX in movies and TV, aims to broaden the platinum-selling rapper’s acting career beyond straight action fare.

The Current Entertainment-repped Li also is on his third film with Silver, who introduced the Hong Kong action veteran to U.S. audiences in “Lethal Weapon 4.” Li most recently toplined Revolution drama “The One” and is planning a pairing with Jackie Chan for the same studio. He is currently in China shooting “Hero” for Zhang Yimou (“Raise the Red Lantern”).

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