OutKast's Andre Benjamin, aka Andre 3000, has pacted with Element Films to topline an untitled feature for the company, with Emmy-winning TV helmer Paris Barclay in talks to direct, Element said yeste

OutKast's Andre Benjamin, aka Andre 3000, has pacted with Element Films to topline an untitled feature for the company, with Emmy-winning TV helmer Paris Barclay in talks to direct, Element said yesterday (May 16).

Set in the mid-1970s, the project follows the story of an upper-middle-class musical prodigy named Valentine (Benjamin) and a lower-class free-spirited woman named Chevon, whose families are opposed to their interracial relationship. Problems arise when an accidental shooting caused by Chevon's police officer brother is blamed on Valentine.

Element Films founder and CEO Sam Nazarian will executive produce, while Element partners Adam Rosenfelt and Stavros Merjos will produce. Producing duo Kat Hantas and Chesley Seals developed the script with writing team Charles and Janice Raiteri. Hantas and Seals also will produce through their Teek Films. NBA player Baron Davis and Malcolm Petal also will receive executive producer credit.

Funding for the film will come from a joint venture established last year by Element, the Louisiana Economic Development Corp. and the Louisiana Institute of Film Technology. "I have grown to respect and understand Andre's enormous impact on current mainstream music," Nazarian said.

Said Benjamin: "This is a story that I have been passionate about being a part of for a long time. This project is coming to life at a perfect time in my theatrical career. The whole team is really excited about the possibilities."

Loeb & Loeb's Sean Marks brokered the deal on behalf of Teek Films with Marc Schaberg on behalf of Element.

The hip-hop star-turned-actor has other projects on his slate, including a Cartoon Network series project, a Jimi Hendrix biopic with the Hughes brothers and a completed part in MGM's upcoming "Be Cool." He's repped by WMA, Michael "Blue" Williams and attorney Darrell Miller at Miller & Pliakas.

Barclay is repped by UTA.