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Ice Cube and ‘Hamilton’ Director Teaming for Disney’s Live-Action ‘Oliver Twist’ Musical

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O’Shea Jackson Jr., better known as rapper and erstwhile N.W.A. affiliate Ice Cube, has changed a touch over the years. Just last year, his own son reenacted all the partyin’ and sexin’ and gun-totin’ of his dad’s younger years in the biopic Straight Outta Compton, showing how the seminal gangsta rapper changed the rap game with a loaded weapon and a cop-hating snarl. But in the years since his late ‘80s/early ‘90s heyday, Mr. Cube has taken some decidedly un-thug work as the face of the Are We There Yet? franchise, and now the man who once exhorted the listeners of America to f–k the police will lend his songwriting talents to none other than Disney.

The Hollywood Reporter has the exclusive that the MC has signed on to produce, write, and star in a new live-action musical remake of Oliver Twist for the house of mouse. Working with Hamilton director Thomas Kail on the music (Kail will also take the director’s chair on the project), Cube will update the story of apple-cheeked Victorian orphan pickpockets to the present day and sociological climate. Much like how the black cast and soundtrack of the recent Annie more immediately reflected modern hardship, the upcoming Oliver Twist will have a hip-hop bent, complete with a racially varied assortment of players.

As easy as it is to make fun of Cube for losing his edge in his advanced age, the fact remains that one, none of us would ever dream of saying such things to his face, and two, it actually makes a lot of sense for him to sign on for an Oliver Twist trading old-times London for the modern urban sprawl. His native neighborhood of Compton is full of wily kids looking to stay out of trouble with the law while making a (half-)honest buck. Weird incongruity with the Disney brand aside, Cube’s helping to tell a story not too far removed from his own.

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