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THE PLAYERS CLUB

About The Production
The seeds for The Players Club were planted in 1991 when Ice Cube, on tour in the South, visited some of Atlanta's most wild and raucous strip joints

The seeds for The Players Club were planted in 1991 when Ice Cube, on tour in the South, visited some of Atlanta's most wild and raucous strip joints. "I thought, 'There is some very interesting stuff going on here,'" he recalled. "The Southern black strip club industry is a phenomenon not many people know about."

Cube wrote the first draft of The Players Club in six weeks and showed it to his long-time collaborator Pat Charbonnet while they were on location in South Africa for the film Dangerous Ground, which Cube starred in and executive produced.

"I liked the fact that the story was crafted around the complexities of the lives of young women, with an empowered heroine," said Charbonnet. "I thought that would be unexpected to people familiar with Ice Cube's work. But it wasn't surprising to me. I knew from having managed the guy for seven years that he had far greater respect for the capabilities of women than the average 'suit.'"

"The story and the lifestyle portrayed in the film are interesting, and that's what inspired me," explained Cube. "There aren't a lot of movies like this where a girl gets to kick ass -- but in a realistic way, not fake Hollywood-style. It's a real story, but with the movie qualities that audiences love: action, comedy and a little drama."

Charbonnet presented the project to New Line Cinema, with whom she and Ice Cube had also produced the hit comedy Friday. The deal was closed within 30 days, but production didn't start until a year and a half later when the script had been perfected and the casting completed.

Ice Cube was adamant about casting unknowns for the two main roles, Diamond and Ronnie. "I wanted the movie to be authentic," he said. "I didn't want people walking out and saying, 'Damn, Jada Pinkett-Smith was good!'"

"I knew Cube wanted new talent, and that it would take time because he was a first-time director," said Charbonnet. "It was a long process, during which casting director Kim Hardin, who had been our assistant casting director on Friday, made an indispensable contribution. We were up and running in November of 1996 and started shooting in mid- March 1997."

Even before casting began, 8"x10" glossies started pouring in from around the country. "When the word first hit the grapevine, we started hearing from college girls all over the country who felt this was their story," recalled Charbonnet. "At first, the script was basically a piece of fiction to me, and I was devastated to learn that it was real. I met girls who were in medical school who worked at clubs far away in order to avoid running into classmates. I was blown away by the whole experience."

"This story isn't about stripping," explained Ice Cube. "The Players Club is just a backdrop for what's going on, because everyone involved in the Club is using it to get somewhere else. The Players Club is about anybody who has to do something that they don't want to do just to better themselves. The message is: Make the money. Don't let it make you.'"

Having previously starred in only one independent film by Spike Lee, LisaRaye, the actress cast to play Diamond, fit Ice Cube's vision of new talent. She was initially spotted by Pat Charbonnet in Tupac Shakur's final music video. "I was watching the Tupac video, when suddenly I looked up and said, 'That looks li

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