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Once Again, It's Chris Rock Marion Barry

June 04, 2002|LISA DE MORAES | WASHINGTON POST

Chris Rock, the comedian who turned Marion Barry into a punch line, will executive produce a TV movie for HBO about the former Washington mayor.

Jamie Foxx is ready to take the lead role on "Livin' for the City: The Marion Barry Story." It's scheduled to start shooting around Washington, D.C., and Baltimore in the early fall.

Barry, who had just got his hands on a copy of the script late Friday, blasted it as "outrageous," his spokeswoman told the Washington Post.

Contacted for comment, an HBO representative went into full "it's not anything we're officially announcing at this time" mode, but eventually acknowledged that the project, first reported in the trade paper the Hollywood Reporter, is real, and that Rock is driving it.

Neither Rock nor Foxx returned calls seeking comment.

But Rock announced 2 1/2 years ago, when Barry was a guest on his HBO late-night program, "The Chris Rock Show," that he wanted to make an HBO movie about Barry's colorful life. Barry's publicist, Raymone Bain, said that Barry was aware of Rock's interest but that no one from Rock's camp had met with Barry.

Late Friday, Barry may have found out why.

Bain called late in the day to say Barry had gotten a copy of the script, which he had not yet read all the way through. What he had read, however, "he feels is outrageous and disrespectful. There are many inaccuracies in it; overall he's very concerned about this and

Rock has already gotten a lot of career traction out of Barry, who had served three terms as mayor when in 1990 he was videotaped by the FBI smoking crack cocaine at a Washington hotel. He served six months in prison but, once out, was voted back for a fourth term as mayor in 1994.

All that was to the delight of Rock, who dinged him mercilessly in his acclaimed 1996 HBO stand-up special "Bring the Pain."

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