Hot Project: Ice Cube in Spielberg’s “Big Ticket”

Ice Cube is clearly becoming a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. The multitalented rapper-actor will begin filming The Big Ticket for DreamWorks in January. But for Ice Cube, this is just another notch on an otherwise brimming belt.

O.J. Simpson, move over

Steven Spielberg came up with the story for The Big Ticket in 1999. The action comedy focuses on a banker who obsesses over car chases on the evening news–until he one day becomes a victim of such a crime.

After a car jacking finds him on the other side of the TV camera, the banker’s life suddenly depends on unraveling an elaborate scheme involving a kidnapping and a bank heist.

Ice Cube will play the wrongly convicted man who car jacks the banker. The two end up in a car chase, O.J. Simpson-style, where they find out more about one another.

The film will reportedly unfold in real time.

Director Gore Verbinski (Mouse Hunt) was originally considering the project but instead went to work on DreamWork’s The Mexican, starring Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt.

Knock, knock

DreamWorks also announced recently that Johnny Knoxville would star in the flick as the banker.

Knoxville is probably best known for his role on the MTV series Jackass. The show, which features dumb pranks and stunts, is co-produced by Knoxville. He created the show with Spike Jonze and Jeff Tremaine. On the big screen, Knoxville appeared in the 1995 comedy Desert Blues and was credited as “a college guy” in last year’s Coyote Ugly.

Though his film repertoire is short, Knoxville has several projects lined up for next year, including two films directed by Barry Sonnenfeld: Big Trouble with Tim Allen and Rene Russo, and Men in Black 2 with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

Ice age

Ice Cube is keeping busy with his Friday franchise for New Line Cinema. Friday After Next will go into production in the fall for a Thanksgiving 2002 release. Ice Cube wrote the script for the third installment and is producing the comedy with Matt Alvarez. He also will be busy promoting his new films Ghosts of Mars, which comes out on Aug. 24, and All About the Benjamins, coming out Jan. 18.

The Big Ticket was written by James Herzfeld, who also scribed 15 Minutes, Meet the Parents and its sequel, Meet the Fockers.

Lensing will begin on the project, which is out to directors, in early 2002 in Los Angeles.