Mos Def Shooting Heist Flick In Italy With Mark Wahlberg

Rapper will also star in off-Broadway play in February.

Like Michael Corleone and Tony Soprano before him, Mos Def has temporarily left his familiar stomping grounds to spend some time in the old country, where he's wrapping up what some are calling "The Italian Job."

Most involved are expecting the trip to result in a hit.

The rapper/actor/poet is in Italy wrapping up production on a remake of the 1969 classic "The Italian Job," which also stars Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron and Seth Green, according to his publicist. Mos Def plays a character named Half Ear in the flick, about a gang that tries to mask a heist of gold bullion by creating the largest traffic jam Los Angeles has ever seen. F. Gary Gray ("The Negotiator," "Friday") is directing the movie, due next year.

After completing his scenes, Mos Def will return to New York to appear in the off-Broadway play "F---ing A," which opens in February at the Public Theatre. An update of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter," the play will reunite Mos Def with two people involved in his previous stage performance in "Topdog/Underdog." "F---ing A" was written by Suzan-Lori Parks, the first black woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama, for scripting "Topdog," and director George Wolf.

Before he takes the stage, Mos Def will finish working on his new album, due in April. The as-yet-untitled disc follows 1999's Black on Both Sides.

That's not all for the prolific poet, however. He has also committed to the film "The Skye Is Green," directed by Zoe Cassavetes, daughter of acclaimed actor/director John Cassavetes and actress Gena Rowlands. That movie is expected to be released next year.