"Diddy" Combs makes personal history at Sundance

Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:02pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sean "Diddy" Combs -- rapper, music producer, fashion designer, business mogul, Broadway star -- has had many career-defining moments. This week at the Sundance Film Festival, he had yet another.

"This a historical moment for me, my first starring role in a movie," Combs, 38, told Reuters. "Some of the audience is going to want to see did I do good or did I fall flat on my face?"

Combs was discussing his part in a new film adaptation of the 1959 play "A Raisin in the Sun," which has been remade several times for stage and screen -- most recently in a 2004 Broadway production starring Combs in the role of a young, struggling black American, Walter Lee Younger.

Now Combs is back in a made-for-television "Raisin" set to air on ABC on February 25 to an audience that may be unfamiliar with the story about U.S. race relations, inner city struggle, hopes, dreams and the strength of family bonds.

"Sometimes people come to a place and don't expect to get the message," Combs said. "This generation, they come for entertainment ... then they realize, 'oh man, this movie is really touching. It's making me really appreciate my family."'

Combs has acted before. He had a small but key role in the 2001 movie "Monster's Ball" and his Broadway run in "Raisin" earned him respectable reviews and won over audiences.

Yet Combs admitted to a case of nerves before his debut at Sundance, the top U.S. festival for independent film that has a history of launching TV movies like "Raisin" with a social conscience.

Last year, the AIDS-related HBO film "Life Support," starring Queen Latifah, opened here.   Continued...

<p>Entertainer Sean "P Diddy" Combs arrives for the premiere of the film "A Raisin In The Sun" during the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 23, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>