Actor to take rap-themed novel to screen

Aug. 23, 2007 at 6:57 PM

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Veteran Hollywood actor Blair Underwood announced he is taking a rap-themed novel to the big screen and will play the lead.

The novel, "Casanegra: A Tennyson Hardwick Mystery," released last month, centers on Tennyson Hardwick, a gigolo-turned-actor and prime suspect in the murder of a rapper-actress. In the book, Hardwick attempts to clear his name, but must contend with, among other things, corruption and rap rivals.

Husband-and-wife co-authors Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due are writing the series of novels with Underwood, AllHipHop.com reported Thursday. Each novel will play off of a classic movie.

"One of the things we talked about right away was spinning this into a movie," Underwood said.

The title "Casanegra" was inspired by the Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman classic, "Casablanca," Due said.

"In the movie 'Casablanca,' the song says, 'A kiss is just a kiss,'" Due said, referring to the standard "As Time Goes By." "But as we say at 'Casanegra,' a kiss not just a kiss and sex is not just sex. There has never been a character like Tennyson Hardwick on the silver screen."

A release date was not announced.

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