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Flo Rida Talks Executive Producing 'The Secrets of the Magic City,' Setting Sights on Action Stardom

Flo Rida
Alex Kirzhner

After reaching Everest-high levels of fame with his dance hits “Whistle,” the Sia-assisted “Wild Ones” and breakout chart-topper “Low” featuring T-Pain, Flo Rida is setting his sights on film. Step one: becoming executive producer of the close-to-home drama The Secrets of the Magic City (eOne Entertainment Films U.S./ New Revolution Films). Filmed in Flo’s native Miami, the R. Malcolm Jones presentation follows two orphan girls struggling after being separated from their foster mother and each other. Jones, the film’s director, also enlisted Miami Heat star Udonis Haslem (a fellow South Beach rep) for what he considers a “homegrown” project.

“These guys rose to the level that they did for Miami so this was a homegrown situation,” Jones tells Billboard over the phone. “We’re trying to bring something positive to the table rather than the typical, shoot-em-up, bang bang movies that tend to come out of Miami.”

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Enter Flo -- who has had a 15-year history with Jones after working together on music videos -- who used his own experiences as a young boy “in the hood” to offer input.

“[The film] definitely relates to my roots of me growing up less fortunate,” he tells Billboard. “A lot of times I was around kids living in foster homes and these two young ladies [in the movie] basically moving from home to home. That really stuck with me, especially me having seven sisters.”

While Magic City spotlights the struggle of inner-city youth experiencing post-traumatic stress syndrome (according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of youth living in inner cities experiencing PTSD is higher than soldiers returning from war), the film also offers optimism. “The voice of the youth is so important so the film really touches home on systematic neglect,” Jones says. “We’re all people and everyone’s got dreams and everyone hurts the same.”

Flo says that his behind-the-scenes role for Magic City will be the springboard for future on-screen endeavors. “I’m definitely a fan of what The Rock has done and the transition of Ludacris and Tyrese [into film],” he says, noting that leaping into action films would be a “very organic” opportunity. “Watching those guys definitely inspires me.”

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He adds, “Starting out with music, I was very successful and me getting into film, I definitely look forward to giving it my all. What you put in is what you get out.”

Secrets of the Magic City -- also produced by Vincent Herbert and starring Jenifer Lewis, Keith David, and Jamie Hector -- is now available on DVD.

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