Janet Jackson is becoming a movie producer. The performer-actress has signed a production deal with Lionsgate to select, develop and produce a feature film for the independent studio.
Jackson has a thriving music career-she's currently on world tour-but this is her first foray into film producing. She says movies have always been her first love.
"Many people forget I started out as an actor," she tells THR. "I have been fortunate to work in the film industry, though not as much as I would like. I have a passion for storytelling, and have been doing it through my music for some time."
A deal with Lionsgate was a natural fit. Jackson has starred in three Tyler Perry films--Why Did I Get Married, Why Did I Get Married Too and For Colored Girls. She also starred in John Singleton's 1993 drama Poetic Justice.
Mike Paseornek, Lionsgate president of motion picture production and development, says the studio recognized Jackson's instinct for great stories.
"She is a powerful on-screen presence, with a vast audience, and we believe she will be an equally powerful presence behind the scenes," Paseornek says. "We are honored to be able to provide a home for her ideas, passion and immense talent."
In terms of the film projects she might pursue, Jackson says she is drawn to diverse material. She says she is particularly captivated by film noir.
The deal with Lionsgate was negotiated by Paseornek, executive VP business & legal affairs Robert Melnik and director of business & legal affairs Neil Ollivierra on behalf of the studio. Negotiating on behalf of Jackson and her jdj Entertainment were attorneys Tom Hoberman and Don Steele of the Hansen Jacobson firm.
Earlier this month, Jackson's memoir "True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself" debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
Presently, Jackson is on her Number Ones: Up Close and Personal world tour. The performer and actress has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, and ranks as one of the bestselling artists in the history of contemporary music.
Jackson is represented by WME, JdJ Entertainment, the Sterling Winters Co., Hansen Jacobson and Hertz & Lichtenstein.