SHORT CUTS: Whitaker Jumps on "Gangster" Success

SHORT CUTS: Whitaker Jumps on "Gangster" Success

Published November 7, 2007

Posted Nov. 7, 2007 -- Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker is set to produce a drama series for Showtime based on the true story of Harlem heroin dealer Leroy "Nicky" Barnes, according to Variety.

"Mr. Untouchable" is based on the Marc Levin-directed documentary of the same name released last week by producer Damon Dash for Magnolia Pictures. Whitaker and Levin will executive produce the Showtime series with "Law & Order: SVU's" David Burke serving as co-executive producer and writer.

"Mr. Untouchable" will follow how Barnes built a drug empire in the 1970s, rising to success but at the expense of the Harlem community. The series will also detail the government's war on drugs and how it failed for years to bring Barnes down.

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In other Whitaker news, the actor has partnered with Pepsi-Cola North America to produce the web-based fantasy game "Dewmocracy," that culminates in consumers creating a flavor of Mountain Dew to appear on store shelves next year. In the game, players complete challenges that give them tools to develop a Mountain Dew drink, including the color, flavor and label graphics. Three choices will be offered to consumers to vote on in February and the winning product bows in July.

"This is about voting," he said. "This is about taking a stance and making things happen. It's about empowering people and allowing them to express themselves and create something that represents who they are."

Meanwhile Whitaker has also set up a drama project at FX. He'll appear on screen next in "Winged Creatures," "The Night Watchman" and "Repossession Mambo."

Beyonce, Hudson and Other Do "Movies"

An all-star line-up including Beyonce, Elton John, Fergie, Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Lopez, John Legend are involved in "Movies Rock," a two-hour live event and television special that will celebrate the relationship between music and film and act as a benefit for the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

Beyonce is slated to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from "The Wizard of Oz" while Underwood will perform the title song from "The Sound of Music."

Fergie and Hudson will team up for "Live And Let Die" and "Goldfinger" from the James Bond films while Mary J. Blige and Legend are on board to sing "As Time Goes By" from "Casablanca."

Williams will lead an orchestra in a medley of his original scores and John will honor the music from animated features.Conde Nast Media Group, the Producers Guild of America and the Entertainment Industry Foundation are behind the event, which will take place December 2 at the Kodak Theatre and air December 7 on CBS.

Ali to Hosk Nick Show

Laila Ali will host Nickelodeon's "The N's Student Body," which follows a group of teens as they attempt to change their own lives — from diet and exercise to volunteering and academics – as well as the lives of their friends and families. Taped in Decatur, Ill., the show pits 12 kids from two rival high schools against each other. The teams are divided into groups of six, repping each school.

From there, the kids compete in challenges such as building a park, or fixing their high school. Teens aren't eliminated traditionally, but will be ocassionally removed if their performance isn't up to snuff.

The winning school will receive $25,000, while a winning teen will also receive $25,000 to put toward their college education.Ali, recently seen as a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars," will serve as a mentor to the teens in addition to hosting the show. The N will launch "Student Body" sometime in 2008.



Written by BET-Staff


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