In Search Of Respect, Cedric Remakes A Dangerfield Flick

Though aiming at 'Actors Studio,' he's remaking 'Back to School.'

Cedric the Entertainer might want to polish up his triple lindy.

The comedian has signed on to tackle Rodney Dangerfield's memorable role in a remake of the 1986 classic "Back to School."

A script for the new version is still in the works, according to an MGM spokesperson, but the original revolves around a good-natured millionaire who enrolls in college to bond with his dejected son. In the movie's climactic scene, Dangerfield performs the all too impossible triple lindy to win a diving competition.

Dangerfield co-wrote the 1986 script, but the spokesperson said it was too early to tell what his involvement will be in the remake.

Cedric, who starred in MGM's "Barbershop" and the subsequent sequel, signed a two-year, first-look deal with the studio for his production company, A Bird and a Bear Entertainment.

"Back to School" probably won't start shooting until next year, but Cedric has plenty to keep him busy in the meantime.

The comedian just wrapped "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," a Jim Carrey movie based on the "Lemony Snicket" children's book series, and Cedric's scheduled to shoot a big-screen version of the 1950s TV favorite "The Honeymooners" this summer.

"I'm gonna be Ralph Kramden, [Mike Epps] is gonna be Ed Norton, and it's bad casting, 'cause I really wanted to be Norton," Cedric recently joked. "I think I can get skinny by that time."

Cedric said the script was just approved and that casting is about to begin for the roles of their wives.

"Lemony Snicket's," due in December, will be the comedian's follow-up to "Johnson Family Vacation," which has earned more than $28 million in one month.

"I play a detective," Cedric said. "Jim Carrey became a surrogate father to a group of orphans and he's mistreating them, trying to get their money, because they're rich, and they keep telling me that he's evil to them. And every time I come up he fools me and he has this magical power and I think that he's the greatest man alive, so it's pretty silly."

Currently, Cedric is filming the "Get Shorty" sequel "Be Cool" along with John Travolta, Danny DeVito, Uma Thurman, the Rock, Vince Vaughn, Harvey Keitel and Outkast's Andre 3000.

"I play a record executive," Cedric said. "I manage this group, the Dub MDs, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Andre is one of my lead group members. [Andre's] kind of trigger-happy, a little wild, a little rough around the edges. I'm a polished guy. I went to Wharton Business College. I'm also in this rap game, thus the suits and the throwbacks, so I kind of got these worlds mixed up, that's how I get down."

In preparing for the role, Cedric spent time with several real-life hip-hop moguls.

"When you kind of see it on paper, you instantly go to Suge Knight, but this guy's a little more complex than that," he explained. "I'm not saying that Suge is shallow. Hardly, Mr. Knight. But no, I studied, like, Kevin Liles from Def Jam. I rolled with [Motown's] Andre Harrell a little bit. I hung out with Puff at the Super Bowl to get that bling bling big-time music man energy. I try to pull from a lot of those different people and just figure out how they operate inside the music business and then pull for the character from them."

Cedric's role in "Be Cool," directed by F. Gary Gray ("Friday," "The Italian Job"), marks one of the actor's most serious roles to date.

"It kinda breaks outside my normal thing," he said. "I love that Gary kind of cast that way throughout this whole film. People are kind of breaking their norms and the stereotypes. Normally I play the guy who's gonna come in firing the jokes right down the middle, and this is an opportunity to be a little more of a serious character and have personality quirks — things that make him comical, but not necessarily a joke-tosser. People will see me in a different light, and I'm sure it's surprising a lot of people that I have those kinds of abilities, but you know, I expect to be on James Lipton's 'Inside the Actors Studio' one day. One day, my friend."





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