These days every aspiring rapper gets into the music industry with their eyes on crossover potential. It didn’t take long for Ludacris, T.I. and (shudders) Chris Brown to go from topping the Billboard charts to making big-budget flicks, but they haven’t had the commercial success or staying power in the world of film that Ice Cube has maintained since wowing critics as a LA gangster in 1991’s Boyz n The Hood. Since that seminal urban drama, Cube has gone on to produce films and television programs while maintaining an on-screen presence as well as a music career, but as of late he’s been focusing of films. He’s currently shooting Gary Marshall’s ensemble rom-com New Year’s Eve in the Big Apple, but he may have found his next project already.
Variety is reporting that he’s in contention to play Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s squad leader Captain Dickson in Sony’s upcoming big-screen adaptation of 21 Jump Street. Phil Lord and Chris Miller are directing from a script by Hill and his writing partner Michael Bacall, with support from Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’s Andre Nemec and Josh Applebaum. The film is meant to serve as a reboot of the popular 1980s teen drama that centered on young undercover cops working in high schools and colleges and launched Johnny Depp’s career. Production is gearing up for an April start, leaving Cube plenty of time to finish shooting New Year’s Eve before putting on the badge.
Cube is one of the few rappers-turned-actors who can be taken seriously. He’s done a bit of everything, from comedy (Friday, Barbershop) to drama (Three Kings) to action (every other movie he’s made), and has actually been pretty good (read: watchable) in most of the films. While his role will likely be small in 21 Jump Street, I’m sure that everyone involved will be happy to have him on set.