EXCLUSIVE: Disney is negotiating to finance and distribute Chrome and Paint, a gritty Boyz N’ The Hood-style drama that Ice Cube will direct and star in, based on a script he co-wrote with Eva Vives. The film is a drama about the custom car culture of South Central Los Angeles. Cube will produce with his Cube Vision partner Matt Alvarez.
Cube, who directed the 2010 Oakland Raiders documentary Straight Outta L.A. for ESPN, hasn’t directed a narrative feature since 1998’s The Players Club, which he also wrote. In Chrome and Paint, Cube uses the subculture of tricked out Mercedes, BMW and Low Rider cars to frame a drama about the temptation to place materialism above all else. The film has elements of Saturday Night Fever and American Graffiti. Disney’s interest came out of a general meeting with Cube. Disney exec Louanne Brickhouse, herself a car enthusiast, took an interest in the project as did production president Sean Bailey. Universal also showed interest in the film but has a similarly-themed project percolating.
To make it work for Disney, Cube will bring it in as a PG-13, even though he originally co-wrote it as an R-rated feature. The plan is to shoot by the end of summer after Vives does some rewrite while Cube stars in 21 Jump Street (starring with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, with Johnny Depp doing a cameo) for Sony Pictures. Cube, who most recently wrapped the Oren Moverman-directed Rampart, is also touring his latest album, I Am The West, with dates that run through May. Vives just got accepted into the Disney Writing Fellowship Program, which places developing writers on studio projects. She’ll work on this as part of the program.
Cube and Alvarez are separately moving on two projects at New Line: Cube and David O Russell are working on the R-rated Dirty Harry-esque crime film that will team director and star for the first time since Three Kings; and Cube Vision is also producing Straight Outta Compton. World Trade Center’s Andrea Berloff is scripting a biopic of NWA, the politically charged hip-hop group that reflected the growing ire of urban youth in the 1980s and set the tone for gangsta Los Angeles rap culture. Cube’s repped by UTA and manager Jeff Kwatinetz.