With one unique idea inspiring yet another, you could say Outkast are keeping things so fresh and, well, so fresh.
Not only are Dre and Big Boi releasing solo albums in an unprecedented single collection, but now the SpeakerBoxx/The Love Below package is being turned into an HBO movie based on the stories in the music.
"It's our version of a musical, with music from both albums," explained the movie's director, Bryan Barber, who worked with Outkast on "The Whole World" and "Land of a Million Drums" videos. "It's pretty dramatic, pretty shocking. We set out to do something totally different from what might be expected from a rap video or rap movie."
The still-untitled movie, which will debut early next year, will star Dre and Big Boi and possibly Rosario Dawson, who appears on Dre's The Love Below. The videos for the first singles from both rappers will be extracted from the musical and will tie together.
Robert Guralnick, who is producing the movie for Mosaic Media Group, described it as a period piece in the vein of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" but centering on a love triangle.
"It's a little bit about reincarnation and coming back to life and doing things the way you are supposed to," Barber said. "We go through periods of life where if we knew then what we know now, things would have gone better. It's just about finding the uniqueness of your inner self and letting that get you through tough moments.
"The characters are pretty complex in the movie," he added. "They are based on Dre and Big, both totally different people. We really wanted to play on that and show the public just a different side of what you might see onstage. There's action, drama, comedy, suspense. We just want to entertain."
The movie will include about 10 songs from SpeakerBoxx/The Love Below, which is due August 19 (see "Outkast's Andre 3000 Gets Down With Norah Jones, Big Boi Takes Us To 'Church' "). It will be the first in a series of six films to be written and directed by up-and-coming urban filmmakers for HBO Films.
"Both Dre and Big are pushing the envelope and are taking hip-hop to a different place," said Barber, who recently helmed Ludacris' "Act a Fool" clip (see "Ludacris Video Blends '2 Fast 2 Furious' With 'Cannonball Run' "). "You know how powerful their songs are. We got 'Bombs Over Baghdad,' then we go to war. Dre's starting wars with his songs and doesn't even know it."