Ja Rule And Ashanti To Star In Remakes Of 'Sparkle' And 'Grease'

King and queen of the Inc. to do film, music video based on popular classics.

Ja Rule may have just dropped his fourth album, The Last Temptation,

but the gravel-voiced Hollis, Queens, native already has plans to continue

his segue from MC to Hollywood swinger.

"We just got the green light. We're remaking 'Sparkle.' Me, Ashanti ... and

Irv Gotti is [making his] directorial debut in Hollywood," Rule disclosed

Tuesday after his appearance on "TRL." "That's just been greenlit with Warner

Bros. It's going to be a big, big event for that movie."

In the original film, Irene Cara starred in the title role, playing one of

three females in an all-sibling R&B group trying to make it big. The trio's

world is turned upside down when they start to gain fame and the oldest of

the girls, simply known as Sister, battles with drugs.

Ashanti will reprise Cara's part as the lead character and Rule says he'll

tackle the role or Sparkle's beau Stix, which was originally played by "Miami

Vice" star Philip Michael Thomas. The Inc. is also hoping to cast

Beyoncé Knowles as the embattled eldest sibling and P. Diddy as her

estranged love interest, Levi. Joel Schumacher, one of the writers on the

original flick, is slated to produce.

"Right now we're just going to finish up casting," Rule said, estimating when

'Sparkle' would spark up production. "They're going to talk budgeting and

stuff like that and then it'll be a go. I say we probably won't be up in

production until about next year."

A spokesperson for Warner Bros. was unable to confirm the project, declining

comment until the Murder Inc. deal is finalized.

It's on a considerably smaller scale, but we'll get to see Ja and Ashanti

remake another timeless movie sooner than "Sparkle." The duo, who have a

playful brother/sister relationship offscreen, switch it up onscreen, acting

as boyfriend and girlfriend for "Mesmerize," the second video from The

Last Temptation.

"We want to take the concept real big," Ja said a few weeks ago in a New York

studio, while finishing up work on the album. "It's real crazy. We wanna do

the John Travolta/ Oliva Newton-John classic, 'Grease.' We wanna recreate

that whole [scene] in the theme park with the cute playing around and bumper

cars. We'll start out the video with the whole transition thing — where

she got on her slut outfit, she's smoking a cigarette and coughing and her

girls are there. She's like, 'Well, if he wants me to be more street, that's

what I gotta do.'

"And they cut to me and I'm in my sweater and my n---as are there, rolling

the dice or whatever and they're looking at me like, 'Yo, what the f---?' "

Ja continued. "I'm like 'I love her. If she wants me to be a little more

[preppy], this is what I gotta do.' I see her in the slut outfit and I rip

off my joint then I'm in all black and it's on and popping. It's gonna be


The Inc.'s king and queen take their love song formula to the next level with

a word exchange on the record.

"That's what I felt was gonna make the record really special and different,"

Rule explained. "I kind of flirted with it with 'I'm Real,' but I didn't take

it all the way to this extent. That's really never been done quite like that

in hip-hop, a real duet where I'm on the hook. On the third verse, me and

Ashanti are going in and out, hip-hop style; she's singing and I'm rhyming.

" 'Mesmerize' is about your feelings towards a young lady," he added. " 'Your

lips, your smile, I love it when you kiss me, baby.' It's describing

everything about her that you love. Her eyes, her hips, her thighs —

and you're mesmerized."

For more on Ja Rule, check out the feature "Ja Rule: Rule's Choice."

— Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Sway Calloway and Curtis Waller