Lorenzo & Par put bad-girl cops on beat

Studio pic picks 'Set It Off' duo

Paramount Pictures has tapped Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith to portray police officers and friends in an untitled actioner for Lorenzo di Bonaventura to produce.

The studio is in negotiations with the thesps with a dual aim — launching a refresh of the cop-buddy genre and re-igniting the on-screen chemistry displayed when the duo toplined action-drama “Set It Off” for New Line in 1996 with Kimberly Elise and Vivica Fox.

The project, which has unofficially been called “Bad Girls,” is to be set in Los Angeles and could start lensing as early as January or February. Both thesps have time slots available for early 2004.

Story details are sketchy beyond the characters combining themes of community and friendship while still “kicking ass” when faced with criminals.

Latifah’s profile has surged significantly this year due to starring in “Bringing Down the House” and being Oscar nommed for “Chicago.” Fox has set her to star in the English-language remake of “Taxi” with “Barbershop” helmer Tim Story to direct the action comedy and she developing “Beauty Shop,” a spinoff of Story’s “Barbershop.”

Smith most recently appeared in “The Matrix Reloaded” and will return in “The Matrix Revolutions.” She starred in 2001’s “Ali” with husband Will Smith and in “Kingdom Come.”

The project could be the first to move into production at Paramount for di Bonaventura, who signed a three-year, first-look production deal with the studio late last year after a decade as production chief at Warner Bros. Par has acquired a half-dozen projects for him since then.

Latifah is repped by WMA and Smith is with Endeavor.

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