Picture this: EminemEminem vs. Andre 3000Andre 3000 in a dream face-off of legendary lyricists. Put the whole thing on film, shoot it in the home of grunge rock and call it "8 Mile 2: The Battle in Seattle."
OK, not quite.
But the OutkastOutkast rapper did think his agent was handing him a script for a musical of sorts when he first heard about his upcoming film.
"When I saw the title 'Battle in Seattle,''Battle in Seattle,' I thought it was catchy," André Benjamin told us last week. "I thought, 'Hey, this may be some kind of rap movie.' You know, they want some kind of battle. They want me to do the kind of '8 Mile''8 Mile' battle thing. 'Cause that's the roles they give to rappers anyway. So once I read it, I was like, 'Hey, OK, this is something serious.' And then, the bigger picture, it was something I didn't know about. I knew if I didn't know about it, I knew a lot of people didn't know about it. So I said, 'Let me bring this to the world ... through my people, through people in the rap world.' So at that point, I felt like I was doing a good deed bringing light to it."
The film centers on the 1999 Seattle riots, which started out as peaceful protests against the World Trade Organization and turned into full-scale chaos. Benjamin stars with Ray LiottaRay Liotta, Woody HarrelsonWoody Harrelson and Charlize TheronCharlize Theron, among others.
"I was kinda ashamed that I didn't know anything about it," Benjamin explained. "I just felt like me being a part of it would bring a certain audience to it. It's about the riots that took place in '99, when pretty much the whole world protested the WTO. They pulled it off. They were strategic about it. They called it a riot because there were a couple of things that went down that were unfortunate. But pretty much everything was not breaking the law, and they did it smartly.
"I play a protester by the name of Django," he added. "He's pretty much bringing light to the subject. I guess people look at protesting and feel like, of course, it's heavy. You got issues and all this kind of stuff. But my character is the person that keeps everybody on the up-and-up and alive and laughing. Even when we're locked up, I'm always making jokes and trying to keep it together."
"Battle in Seattle" is headed to theaters September 19. Andre 3000's next album is coming to stores on ... well, that's yet to be determined.
"On the movie front, right now I'm reading scripts," he said. "I've been spending a lot of time working on the next music project, which will be my album. I can say I don't know what it's going to sound like. I can say I know what the message is already. I know what the vibe is. I'm just now really getting into it. Right now, I'm in support of Big Boi'sBig Boi's album coming out right, Sir Luscious Left Foot. Go pick it up. Then after that, if God's willing, we'll do another Outkast album. I've been overseas working on this new, exciting clothing company called Benjamin Bigsby that's in stores right now. And that's been taking a lot of my time. But I'm really passionate about it, and I love doing it. It's been one of the most challenging things I've ever done, but I've loved clothes since I was a kid."
Check out everything we've got on "Battle in Seattle."
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