July 15, 2005

Rapper LL Cool J targets women with film deal

By Nicole Sperling

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - In a bid to attract
black female moviegoers, Lions Gate Films has signed a
multipicture deal with rapper/actor LL Cool J, whose first
project will be an urban version of "Fatal Attraction."

LL Cool J, a.k.a. James Todd Smith, will play an everyman
who gets into serious trouble when he engages in an
extramarital affair.

"What we are looking to do with LL is to get high-quality
material that will attract talent," said Michael Paseornek,
president of production at Lions Gate. "We are not looking to
develop gimmicks but make real movies. LL has a huge following
and is very credible with women."

The musclebound rap pioneer's feature credits include
2003's "Deliver Us From Eva," which marked his headlining
debut, "Deep Blue Sea" and "Mindhunters."

Lions Gate plans to develop two other projects at the same
time as its version of "Fatal Attraction." Under the multiyear
deal, LL Cool J will get a producer's credit on each film.

"This is the perfect transition for me as I can now pour
all my energy and creative juices into this fresh and exciting
producing venture," LL Cool J said in a statement.

The projects -- budgeted at less than $10 million, similar
to Lions Gate's deal with actor/playwright Tyler Perry ("Diary
of a Mad Black Woman") -- are looking to serve the black female
market, which Lions Gate thinks is an underserved and often
ignored segment.

"We'd love to make two of these a year," Paseornek said.
"And we'll keep them coming if the marketplace responds."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter