LOS ANGELES -- 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."