Paramount is revving up development of a feature set in the world of customized cars, buying a pitch by thesp Michael Rapaport and producer Andre Harrell for MTV Films to produce.
Move comes after the recent launch of “Pimp My Ride,” the MTV cable skein hosted by rap star Xzibit and featuring vehicle makeovers.
Yet-to-be-titled feature will focus on the men and women who work at a car customizing shop, culminating in a competition at a car show.
Rapaport and Harrell will produce, with Alonzo Brown and Kim Watson — who teamed to write “Honey” — penning the script. Spearheading the project for MTV Films will be Susan Lewis and Loretha Jones.
“We know that the car tuner trend is incredibly popular with the MTV audience,” said MTV Films exec veep David Gale. “No one has done a film set in this world to date, and I’m confident that the team we’ve put together will capture the vibe perfectly.”
Hip-hop music will be a central component of the film, with cameos by popular artists. Rapaport and Harrell are developing the project as an ensemble workplace comedy in the vein of “Barbershop” and “Car Wash.”
“I’ve always been fascinated by the world of customized cars and all the time, money and passion that people put into it,” said Rapaport. Harrell, the former president of Motown Records, teamed with U-based Marc Platt to produce “Honey.” Harrell, who broke into the music business as part of the rap duo Dr. Jekyll and founded Uptown Records, also produced the 1995 pic “Strictly Business.”
Rapaport was a producer on Bruno Dumont’s thriller “29 Palms,” to be distributed by Wellspring. He currently stars in “Boston Public.”
MTV Films is wrapping production on “Coach Carter,” starring Samuel L. Jackson and produced with Tollin-Robbins. It’s also beginning production this summer on “Aeon Flux,” starring Charlize Theron and produced with Gale Ann Hurd and Lakeshore, and on “The Longest Yard,” starring Adam Sandler and produced with Happy Madison Prods.