Andre Benjamin's stock continues to rise with Hollywood's wheelers and dealers. Benjamin — best known by his musical alias Andre 3000, one half of the award-winning rap outfit Outkast — has signed on to star in an as-yet-untitled modern-day musical that's being developed by Double Feature Films, the production company behind "Along Came Polly" and "Garden State."
According to Variety, Tony-winning "Avenue Q" wordsmith Jeff Whitty will write the film's script, and Andre has agreed to compose original music for the movie's score.
Dre will also be co-producing the project, in which he'll play "someone with magical powers, who comes into the lives of a family," Variety reported. Double Feature's principals told the trade they're aiming to produce a musical that's hip and current, but recalls the golden age of the Hollywood musical at the same time.
The demand for Andre's big-screen talents has swelled within the last year or so, and the rapper is fast becoming a Hollywood player. Not only has he appeared in various television roles (most notably playing a Los Angeles comic-book-store owner in an episode of FX's controversial cop drama "The Shield" in 2004), he's been adding more and more film roles to his résumé. Andre recently played Dabu, the leader of a rap group, in the Elmore Leonard-inspired John Travolta vehicle "Be Cool," and will next be seen in the currently untitled HBO film formerly known as "My Life in Idlewild," a musical set in the 1930s co-starring his Outkast counterpart, Big Boi (see "Outkast's Manager Says Movie, LP Will Be Their 'Purple Rain' ").
Andre has also signed on for "Revolver," the upcoming Las Vegas-themed gangster flick from Madonna's director husband Guy Ritchie ("Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," "Snatch"), and appears alongside Mark Wahlberg and Tyrese in John Singleton's upcoming "Four Brothers" (see "Andre 3000, Mark Wahlberg And Tyrese As Brothers? Only In Hollywood ...").
Dre has even signed on to lend his voice to the upcoming live-action interpretation of the classic children's book "Charlotte's Web." Dre joins an all-star cast that includes Robert Redford, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Entertainer and Thomas Haden Church; Julia Roberts has accepted the eight-legged lead role. Dre will voice Elwyn, one of the story's two dimwitted crows.
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