Monday, August 08, 2005

Say It Ain't So, 50

Over at, Adam Posner has an even scarier and more depressing development than the demise of Chapelle Show: 50 Cent will be a leading man on the big screen soon. What's leading Hollywood to put no talent rappers in the leading role? Supply and demand baby.
What's strange to see now, though, is how rappers are moving beyond the supporting role work of Mos Def or the Nouveau Blaxploitation filmography of DMX. They are actually stepping into the top spots once filled by the likes of Eddie Murphy and Denzel Washington. As Murphy and Washington slowly drift into middle age, Hollywood hasn't really groomed any black actors to fill their positions of power. Derek Luke hasn't received the choice roles since his dazzling debut in Antwone Fisher, and Jamie Foxx only got his Oscar because an independent financier — not a major studio — came through to support Ray. And Cuba Gooding Jr.'s post-Oscar career sank faster than a Boat Trip on the Lusitania.

So, with no new actors to easily market to urban audiences - or to the white suburbanites who fawn over what they perceive as black culture, Hollywood has turned to a familiar fallback plan. When actual movie stars are in short supply, just look to the pop charts.
And while I scoff at this, the film, entitled Get Rich or Die Tryin' after 50's debut album, could actually be good considering whom else is involved. Amazingly, the production nabbed Irish director Jim Sheridan, who has six Oscar nominations to his credit, three for the amazing In the Name of the Father. Better yet, the script is being written by Terence Winter, a writer for the Sopranos.

The ironic thing for me is that I want 50 to fail so very bad (I hate his persona), but I feel like I'll be the first in line when it opens on a not too distant Friday in the future. If done properly, Get Rich could be a perfect example of ghetto noir -- a somber and violent meditation on the inner city and what it takes to get out or at least die trying.

Damn you 50 and your genius for self-promotion.