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IDLEWILD

About The Production
Barber met Benjamin and Patton in 1993 during his time at Clark Atlanta University's School of Film. Since then, the filmmaker has cut his teeth directing OutKast in videos from their first entry, "Skew It on the Bar-B,” to their signature series, including "Hey Ya!,” "Roses” and "The Way You Move.” The in-demand director has also created music videos for a diverse slate of talent from Destiny's Child and Nelly Furtado to Kelly Clarkson and Missy Elliott, most recently helming Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man,” which shares a stylistic sensibility with Idlewild.

The friends had long discussed creating a 1930s period musical with an all-black cast of actors to tell the stories of people they knew growing up in the Deep South. Indeed, they had been working on the idea of a musical since OutKast's album "Aquemini” came out in 1998. 2000's "Stankonia” and the blockbuster follow-up, 2003's "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” would shoot OutKast into the musical stratosphere...and keep kindled their passion for the film project.

The trio knew they didn't want to do a musical in which, according to Benjamin, they just, "break out in song.” The right project would need to be a performance-based film that was built around the music, one that would tell the story of ragtime-infused hiphop and semi-autobiographical stories. Writer/director Barber knew he had the perfect combination for the film in Benjamin and Patton, with one of the artists' tastes popculture in flavor and the latter more urban in his stylings.

Through Erika Conner, an executive of Charles Roven's Mosaic Media Group's urban division, Barber had heard that HBO Films was looking for material to feature on the network. He met with Conner and showed her a film treatment he'd created from two songs off of OutKast's double-disk "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.” Barber had placed into script form a story of two young men on parallel paths—in the Deep South of 1932—an idea that resonated quite well with Conner and Guralnick. Mosaic knew they'd found just the film to produce for HBO, and Barber had found a home for his project.

With OutKast's rising success, Mosaic Media Group was confident of the film's chance to reach a wide audience. Mosaic's long track record of hits—including Scooby- Doo and its sequel, as well as Three Kings, Twelve Monkeys and the enormously successful franchise reinvention Batman Begins—led Mosaic's Roven to trust his gut on the project. The producer says that he was fascinated to help create "a compelling musical with purposefully anachronistic themes woven into the storyline.”

As the project developed for HBO, so did the juggernaut success of OutKast's latest release, the aforementioned "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.” The album was well on its way to selling an astonishing six million units, and establishing OutKast as more-than-bankable stars in the world of entertainment. Notes fellow producer Guralnick, "The movie was in development before ‘Speakerboxxx' was released. When that album came out, it changed the film's emphasis and helped us to create the movie both Bryan and our team wanted to make. It started as a 35-page treatment and morphed into this refined production.”

Both Mosaic and HBO knew there was an even bigger audience for this film, based on OutKast's success, and they sold worldwide distribution rights to Universal Pictures in September 2005, which would release the picture as the duo finished its latest album, the soundtrack "Idlewild.” The album features new songs by OutKast and will be released by LaFace/Zomba Label Group on August 22, 2006. The artists feel that, as a work three years in the making, it is an excellent representation of what they went through during this time period.

"I wanted to do a film that encourages people to pursue their dreams, because the graveyard is f

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