Rapper 50 Cent expands empire to filmmaking

Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:52pm EST
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By Michelle Nichols

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - Bullet-scarred rapper 50 Cent owns a record label and clothing line, acts and writes books, and now he is adding film production to his multimedia empire -- promoting his new venture this week at the Sundance Film Festival.

50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, has launched Cheetah Vision, and he told Reuters at Sundance, the top U.S. independent film festival, that he was not concerned about starting a new business during the global financial crisis.

"I don't think it will affect me as much as it will the other people that are out there because I'm not afraid to finance some of these things myself if I have to," he said.

The rapper, who takes his name from a "stickup kid from Brooklyn," was ranked No. 26 on Forbes 2008 list of top 100 richest celebrities with estimated earnings of about $150 million between June 2007 and June 2008.

50 Cent had a stake in Glaceau, which makes Vitaminwater, and the bulk of his earnings came from the sale of the company to Coca-Cola Co. Forbes estimates the rapper banked about $100 million after taxes from the deal.

He said Cheetah Vision had already bought eight scripts and among the first to be produced would be "The Dance," starring himself and Nicolas Cage.

"(The script) was previously passed around a little bit but both me and Nicolas Cage had an interest in the film so it will still happen. He plays the founder of a boxing program, and I play a fighter who goes to state prison," 50 Cent said.

"They are all different types of movies that I bought the rights to, and we're developing projects. You will see different things from me in the future," he said.   Continued...

<p>Rap artist 50 Cent performs at Tao during the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 19, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>