BREAKING: Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, who last teamed on the Screen Gems remake Sparkle with Whitney Houston, have made a deal with Paramount Pictures for a new project with the working title Abandonment Issues. Mara Brock Akil will write the script and Salim Akil, her husband, will direct and they will produce together. Salim made his feature directing debut with last year’s TriStar comedy Jumping The Broom, which opened tops at the box office and grossed over $40 million domestically.
EXCLUSIVE: More than two decades after Will Smith launched his acting career with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, another young rapper is transitioning to scripted comedy with the help of a husband-and-wife writing/producing duo. BET has greenlighted the Untitled Diggy Simmons Project, a two-hour backdoor comedy pilot/original movie starring 17-year-old rapper/blogger Daniel Dwayne Simmons, aka Diggy Simmons, and executive produced by Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, the team behind BET’s hit comedy The Game and upcoming original movie/backdoor pilot Being Mary Jane, which is set to premiere next year as part of the BET Premiere Cinema movie franchise. Being Mary Jane, starring Gabrielle Union, is expected to go to series.
The Diggy Simmons project, said to have an Entourage vibe to it, is described as a fresh and edgy look at Diggy Simmons, his life as a blogger, and the close group of loyal friends who hold him down on his rise to the top. Simmons will play the main character Blake. Also cast in the project are Allen Maldonado as Manny, Blake’s best friend. Manny lives with his twin sister Tae (Teyana Taylor), who is Blake’s ex-girlfriend, after their grandmother died. Chris Brew will play Dot, a tech geek, now a student at NYU, and a childhood friend of Blake and Manny. Bria Murphy will play Manny’s girlfriend Nia. Stephanie Charles will play Sheri, Dot’s ex-girlfriend.
BET has signed a multi-year deal with The Game creator/executive producer Mara Brock Akil and director/executive producer Salim Akil. Under the pact, they will continue their services on the hit series, which has been renewed for a fifth season, in addition to developing new shows through Akil Prods. with a …