Surely there was a way to capitalize on Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's recent automobile issues, and what better way to do so then to stick him behind the wheel in a new drag racing flick. Universal Pictures has tapped the rapper-turned-actor to star in Live Bet, to be helmed by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Lozano. Mary Parent and Scott Stuber will produce along with G-Unit Films; they'll be working off a script originally written by brothers Charley and Vlas Parlapanides, but re-written by Chris Lighty Lozano and Tony Dalton. The latter has starred in two Lozano-directed films (Matando Cabos, Sultanes Del Sur), co-writing one and penning the other by himself.
Pic, which marks Lozano's English-language debut, covers familiar territory for the director. It's a heist film set in the world of underground clubs and illegal car racing; Lozano's other two feature films also revolve around a gang of young criminals who get wrapped up in a crime gone wrong. While Live Bet was originally set to take place in New York, the re-write has tacked on some additional cities such as Philadelphia and Las Vegas. Studio is eying a late summer production start. Producers Billy and Fernando Rovzar (who collaborated with Lozano on his break-out hit, Matando Cabos) have been brought on to exec produce. Even though Mexican talent is all the rage this year (sort of reminds me of that Latin explosion a few years back), assembling an all Mexican team is still somewhat of a risk for a major studio.
Personally, I welcome the new talent pool ... though I'd rather not shell out my heard-earned cash to watch 50 Cent in anything -- the guy has about as much personality as a rock, and he's more interesting to watch on the evening news than the big screen.