Rapper 50 Cent has joined the cast of U.S. TV drama Power. The In da Club hitmaker, who also serves as the show's executive producer, has signed on for a recurring role in the series, which centres on a wealthy New York club owner who lives a double life as a drug kingpin.
Power, which was created by The Good Wife's Courtney Kemp Agboh, features Omari Hardwick, Lela Loren, Joseph Sikora and Fame star Naturi Naughton.
The show, which is currently in production in New York, is set to premiere on U.S. network STARZ next year (14).
The late soul superstar was keen to get started on the project with co-stars including Angela Bassett and director Forest Whitaker and recently spoke of her hopes for the movie during an interview promoting what will now be her final film, Sparkle.
And castmate Loretta Devine told MTV News on Monday (13Feb12) that when she last spoke to Houston "she told me how excited she was to start production on Waiting to Exhale 2 with Angela, Lela (Rochon) and myself".
Despite Houston's passing on Saturday (11Feb12), movie bosses are still keen to go ahead with the sequel to the hit 1995 film. Fox 2000 Pictures president Elizabeth Gabler says, "It's almost in her honour that we think to soldier on."
But the movie boss insists there are no plans to replace Houston in the film: "We literally have not talked about anybody for that part."
The late soul superstar died on Saturday (11Feb12) in her suite at Los Angeles' Beverly Hilton hotel - just weeks after wrapping her movie comeback in Sparkle, her first film since starring in The Preacher's Wife in 1996.
Devine reveals she spoke to Houston recently and the singer couldn't wait to catch up with her Waiting To Exhale co-stars, including Angela Bassett and Lela Rochon, on the set of the second installment, which was due to begin shooting later this year (12).
And the actress has been left stunned by the unexpected tragedy.
Devine tells MTV.com, "I am overwhelmed. I cannot wrap my mind around this. I missed the chance to see her at a party this past Thursday and when we spoke last she had just finished Sparkle and she told me how excited she was to start production on Waiting to Exhale 2 with Angela, Lela and myself.
"My prayers go out to her family and I am so honoured for the time I spent working with her on Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher's Wife and on Boston Public. I love you, Whitney, and I will miss your easy laugh."
Bassett confirmed last year (11) that a sequel to Waiting To Exhale, about the love lives of four female friends in Phoenix, Arizona, was in the works. It was based on Terry McMillan's 1992 book of the same name.
Forest Whitaker, who made his feature film directorial debut with the movie, was expected to return as director.
The hit romantic movie, about the love lives of four female friends in Phoenix, Arizona, was a big screen adaptation of Terry McMillan's 1992 book of the same name, and Bassett reveals the follow-up, based on the author's 2005 novel Getting to Happy, is in the works.
And the star claims the full original cast, including Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon, are all on board for the upcoming project - which will see Forest Whitaker returning as director.
Speaking on U.S. chat show The Talk on Thursday (05May11), she says, "It's preliminary but it's going to happen, Waiting to Exhale 2.
"She (McMillan) wrote Getting to Happy and she's written the screenplay... Loretta, Lela, Whitney, Forest. Forest is working on the script now."
Waiting to Exhale was a critical and commercial success when it was released, boasting a global box office haul of $81.45 million (£50.9 million). It was also branded a "social phenomenon" by the Los Angeles Times for having an all-African American cast.
The filmmaker, who is preparing to helm a biopic about slain rapper Tupac Shakur, had an $85,845 (£57,230) lien filed against him on 3 May (10) by California officials, reports the Detroit News.
Public records indicate it's not the first time Fuqua has run into tax trouble - he and his actress wife Lela Rochon were accused of owing $371,729 (£247,800) to the Internal Revenue Service in 2008 and a further $44,163 (£29,400) last year (09).
California authorities also filed a $109,037 (£72,690) lien against the couple in 2008 and a $9,329 (£6,219) claim last year (09).
Top Story: Gandolfini Spreading Sopranos Wealth
Even though The Sopranos star James Gandolfini raked HBO over the coals earlier this year in a salary renegotiation, he is apparently a generous guy to his colleagues. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gandolfini handed over much of his first advance from his share of Sopranos profits to his fellow castmates, including Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco and Michael Imperioli, who are all now in production for The Sopranos' fifth season. Sources told The Reporter Gandolfini divvied up about $500,000 of his own cash as a way of recognizing that the show's success is due to the strength of its ensemble cast. "It was always part of his plan [during the renegotiations] to share some of the wealth with the other actors," a source close to Gandolfini said. "He has always called this show an ensemble, from Day 1." Meanwhile, Sopranos creator/executive producer David Chase is currently in negotiations with HBO for a possible sixth season.
Newscaster David Brinkley Dies
David Brinkley, one of news journalism's enduring legends, died Wednesday from unspecified complications after an earlier fall, Reuters reports. He was 82. Brinkley was co-anchor of NBC television's evening news program and later hosted of the Sunday current affairs program on ABC, This Week With David Brinkley,
Chicago Gets More Screen Time
Miramax Films is planning to re-release their Oscar-winning Chicago in theaters to help boost sales for the home video release. Variety reports the Chicago run, slated to start July 18, will feature a new version of the movie that includes an additional song-and-dance number cut from the original theatrical release. The DVD version, which hits retail shelves Aug. 19, also will feature the additional scene.
Director Fuqua Ordered To Settle Lawsuit
A judge Thursday ordered attorneys for Antoine Fuqua and a woman who claims she had an affair with the Training Day director to try to settle their legal dispute before it "spirals into the abyss,'' City News Service reports. Personal trainer Tanya Evans filed a malicious prosecution suit against Fuqua, who denies ever knowing Evans, in March, claiming the director and his wife, actress Lela Rochon, made false accusations of harassment that led to Evans' arrest last May.
For Love or Drink?
Rob Campos, the bachelor star of NBC's For Love or Money, has been let go from his job as an independent contractor at a Dallas law firm due to reports that he was expelled from military service in 1999 for drunkenly groping a female officer, The Associated Press reports, as well as for his behavior during the show's second episode where Campos made drunken romantic overtures to several women during an alcohol-soaked party in a hot tub. The 33-year-old Campos is the star of the romantic fantasy game, where he must choose a potential mate from among 15 women. The woman will be asked to choose between Campos and a $1 million prize. Hmmm.
Woman Sues Rosie's Defunct Show
Lucille DeBellis of Hartsdale, N.Y. has sued the producers of the now defunct The Rosie O'Donnell Show for injuring her with a hard rubber ball, AP reports. DeBellis, who was an audience member during a taping in November 2001, claims she was hit in the mouth when a show staffer flung a ball into the audience. AP reports the court papers say her physical discomfort and embarrassment about her appearance caused her to turn down holiday parties and other social events during the 2001 Christmas season as well as adversely affecting her relationship with her boyfriend.
Linkin Park Singer Bolts From Hospital
Chester Bennington, lead singer of the metal band Linkin Park, was released from a Los Angeles hospital after suffering from severe back and abdominal pains due to a virus, Billboard magazine reports. The group, which had to cancel 12 European dates, plans to reschedule the tour soon.
A Stripped Down Adam Ant
British pop singer Adam Ant, aka Stuart Goddard, was arrested Wednesday after he went "berserk" in a café near his London home and stripped off his pants, Reuters reports. This latest fracas follows an incident last summer when Goddard threatened customers at a local pub for laughing at his cowboy attire. He was freed in October after judges ruled he was suffering from temporary mental illness.
Luhrmann's La Boheme Closes Curtain
Australian director Baz Luhrmann's opulent version of the Puccini opera La Boheme, which recently lost out to Nine at the Tony Awards for best musical revival, will fold June 29 after a disappointing seven-month run and losses of about $6 million, AP reports. "We just didn't reach the suburban, traditional musical theatergoing audience," producer Jeffrey Seller told AP Wednesday. "We reached the cognoscenti, we reached the kids, we reached the Baz fans, we reached art lovers in New York City, particularly Manhattan."
Role Call: Spader Joins The Practice, Fall Guy Goes Big Screen
Secretary star James Spader is in final negotiations to join ABC's legal drama The Practice in wake of the recent exit of six cast members including Dylan McDermott and Lara Flynn Boyle. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Spader will play Alan Shore, a complicated and ethically challenged lawyer…Meanwhile, Warner Bros. is developing a feature film around the popular '80s series The Fall Guy, which starred Lee Majors as a stuntman who moonlights as a bounty hunter. Oh, why not?