Ice Cube is attached to star as Fagin in Disney’s upcoming remake of the musical version of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the story, while a source connected to the production confirmed the casting to Rolling Stone.
The movie will reportedly be directed by Thomas Kail, who earned a Tony Award for helming Hamilton. Ice Cube is also set to serve as a producer and is writing the treatment with co-producer Jeff Kwatinetz.
The new movie will put a contemporary spin on the stage musical Oliver! complete with a genre-hopping soundtrack that will of course include hip-hop. Dickens’ classic tale chronicles the journey of an orphan boy, who escapes the harsh conditions of a workhouse and falls in with a group of young thieves, whose caretaker is the elderly Fagin. After Oliver ends up in the care of a wealthy family, he begins to discover the truth about his parents, though his search is fraught with violence and murder.
Dickens published Oliver Twist as a serial between 1837 and 1839. The novel was eventually adapted into a musical, Oliver!, that premiered on London’s West in 1960 and was later turned into a movie in 1968 directed by Carol Reed. The show has since become a musical theater staple, and in 1988 Disney reimagined it as an animated film about stray cats and dogs in New York City called, Oliver and Company.
As for Ice Cube, the rapper continues to bolster his film credits, this year appearing in Ride Along 2 and Barbershop: The Next Cut. He’s set to star alongside Charlie Day in the 2017 comedy Fist Fight, while he’s also reportedly working on another Dickens adaptation: Humbug, in which he’ll play Ebenezer Scrooge in a contemporary retelling of A Christmas Carol.
The new Oliver movie also marks Thomas Kail’s directorial film debut. Kail has directed for television in the past – recently helming Fox’s Grease Live! – and his Broadway credits are extensive and, along with Hamilton, include Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights.