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Ice Cube Glad To Swap Family Fare for Edgy ‘Rampart’ Drama

Ice Cube is eagerly anticipating unsheathing his edge as an actor later this summer, when he goes before the cameras with Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster in "Rampart" — Oren Moverman's adaptation of James Ellroy's novel about L.A.P.D. corruption in the early '90s.

"I've been looking for these kinds of roles," says the multi-talented rap star, producer, director, writer and cuddly "Are We There Yet" movie lead. "I've been doing comedies and family kind of deals lately, and I've been looking for dramas. As an actor, I'm really looking forward to being part of a heavy story."

Heavy it will be. What makes it all the more interesting is the fact Cube will be playing a homicide detective who is on the trail of a dirty cop (Harrelson). It's an ironic turn for a guy who rose to fame with gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A. and their "Straight Outta Compton" first album that contained such cuts as "F—- tha Police."

"The Rampart division was tough and grimy, too. This is stuff we've been growing up with since the '80s, my brother since the '70s — what we've been seeing for decades. We know it's there. It's like a pimple," he tells us. "Some of these guys were vets straight off the battlefield and into the police department. That's the caliber. There's a wolf mentality in a lot of ways."

KEEPING IT REAL: If real-life nurses and doctors find more to like on "HawthoRNe" this season in terms of verisimilitude, they'll have Jada Pinkett Smith's mother to thank.

"She enjoyed the first season, but she wrote me a long e-mail about the technical things we weren't doing properly," reports Smith, whose mom, Adrienne Banfield-Jones, worked as a head nurse at a women's clinic in inner-city Baltimore. "I brought a new technical team in. That literally was a result of mom's letter. I got a lot of constructive criticism from her and other nurses."

Adds Smith, "She had really good suggestions, more of the perspective of the employees in the hospital, that are helping us expand and extend it on beyond the nursing staff" for the TNT show that launches its second season tonight (6/22).

Smith's character gets a romance this year, as we noted the other day, with Michael Vartan's Dr. Wakefield. "That's very, very interesting on a lot of levels," she says.

INSIDE INSIGHT: "So You Think You Can Dance" host Cat Deeley admits that doing the show revolutionized her view of the art form. "I'd get taken to the ballet to see 'The Nutcracker' at Christmas time and things like that, but I never fully connected with it before," she says. "On the show, you know, occasionally something really, really magic happens with the right choreography, the right music, the right dancers, and you watch and your hair stands on end. I didn't know dance could do that. I can't tell you why in technical terms. I don't know the names of the movements. Like any great piece of art, it gives you the chills."

Deeley makes it clear she has no aspirations in the dancing realm herself. Her talents lie in hosting. "I do a lot of prep, yes. I'm a big old square about all that," she says. If she seems ready for anything, it's due to experience: "I did so much live television when I was back in England — a three-hour daily show, live, 52 weeks of the year for six years."

As far as whether things ever went out of control on her old show, she recalls, "Slash once came on and, it was a morning show, and he said very inappropriate things. But we moved on."

THE BIG-SCREEN SCENE: Jerry Stiller is getting ready to film a low-budget feature called "Let Go." It's not about getting downsized. Stiller's character has been recently let go from prison and is facing challenges of life on the outside — while others around him are facing their own issues of letting go.

Michael Madsen and Lisa Pelikan have joined the cast of Tom Sizemore's "Visible Scars" as the sheriff and as Sizemore's wife.

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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