Queen Latifah, Bow Wow, Ja Rule Lead Hip-Hop's Hollywood Invasion

Rappers-turned-actors sign on to several upcoming projects.

Hip-hop's invasion of Hollywood continued this week, as more rappers landed deals in upcoming projects.

Ja Rule and Eve are among several thespians named on Friday in connection with "The Cookout," a comedy another rapper, Queen Latifah, co-wrote with her Flavor Unit Films partner Shakim Compere.

Quran Pender (a.k.a. The Unit's Storm P) will play the lead in the movie, a basketball star who celebrates being chosen #1 in NBA draft by hosting a barbeque for his oddball friends and family in his new mansion.

Ja will play the hoopster's friend named Bling Bling, while Eve will play the star's old high school girlfriend. Latifah will also handle a supporting role as a security guard

Other roles in "The Cookout" went this week to Danny Glover, Farrah Fawcett, Jonathan Silverman ("Weekend at Bernie's"), Jenifer Lewis ("Juwanna Mann"), Meagan Good ("Biker Boyz") and Tim Meadows ("The Ladies Man"). Lance Rivera is directing the film now in New Jersey.

"The Cookout" is one of several film projects the red-hot Latifah has on her plate, which include "My Wife Is a Gangster," an as-yet-untitled action comedy with Jada Pinkett Smith and "Barbershop 2" (see "Queen Latifah In Talks For 'Barbershop 2' Cameo, Spinoff").

First, though, the "Chicago" star will appear along with Ja and other rappers in "Scary Movie 3" in the fall (see "Master P Gets Serious With Meth And Red In 'Scary Movie 3' ").

Speaking of Ja, he was also just cast in an indie feature with Ving Rhames called "Back in the Day" and will have a small role in "Shall We Dance?," starring occasional collaborator Jennifer Lopez.

In "Back in the Day," which James Hunter will direct later this month in Puerto Rico, Ja plays an underprivileged man who gets caught up in gang life by doing a favor for an old friend.

And in other rapper movie news, "Mr. President," the Bow Wow project about a Philadelphia boy who becomes president for a day after winning an essay contest (see " Bow Wow For 'President'?"), will now be called "Mr. Prez."

Claudia Grazioso and Steven Gary Banks, who penned "Are We There Yet?," an Ice Cube project heading into production, are writing the script, which the Fat Cats, Randy Marshall and Eric Williams, will direct.

Bow Wow will next be seen in "Johnson Family Vacation" with Solange Knowles early next year (see "Bow Wow, Solange Go On 'Vacation' With Cedric, Vanessa Williams").