UNIVERSAL CITY, California — While peers like Common, Chris Brown and Ludacris have watched their Hollywood profiles soar over the past few years, life has been a bit more difficult for Clifford Joseph "T.I." Harris. Despite impressive work in 2006's "ATL" and 2007's "American Gangster," the rapper's performances have been lost in the shadow of his real-life run-ins with the law.
Now, however, a new deal has T.I. promising that his future is a bright one.
"I have a few films that I am in the process of working on, as a producer as well as an actor," he told MTV News this past weekend at the MTV Movie Awards. "Some with Screen Gems, some with New Line, as well as a documentary in the form of a television series with MTV."
Tip kicked the first of those off Wednesday, formally announcing a three-picture deal with Screen Gems, the home of hip-hop-flavored hits such as "This Christmas" and "Stomp the Yard." The move is a particularly daring one by Hollywood, as Tip faces a yearlong prison sentence, which is due to begin next spring.
Nevertheless, T.I. told us that he intends to resolve his legal problems and keep his Hollywood career on track. "I'm just looking forward to continuing my success in the film industry," the hitmaker said. "I want to do all kinds of movies. I want to do romantic comedies, action movies, dramas — tons of different things."
The Screen Gems contract will begin with "Bone Deep," a movie that T.I. described to us as a "young, hip-hop 'Heat' "; the movie will co-star Matt Dillon and Idris Elba. Tip also revealed exclusively to MTV News that he is in talks with Chris Brown to join the action flick as a young robber.
"Bone Deep" tells the story of a group of thieves who rob a high-rise, catching the eye of a paroled cohort who talks them into one last job, which backfires against the crew. The film will be directed by John Luessenhop ("Lockdown") and was written by Gabriel Casseus, Avery Duff and Peter Allen.
The second Screen Gems film in the contract will be "Boulevard," a dramatic film that will feature T.I. as the lead. The third movie will be determined at a later date.
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