'Welcome Back, Ice Cube'

'Welcome Back, Ice Cube'

Ice Cube is not ashamed to admit that when it comes to “Welcome Back, Kotter,” the 1970s series that helped launch John Travolta’s acting career, there “was no bigger fan than me.” And Cube is thrilled about his latest role — as the lead in Hollywood’s big-screen adaptation of the sitcom classic.

According to Variety, Ice Cube has signed on to both star in and produce “Welcome Back, Kotter,” and the rapper’s “very excited to be able to put a new twist on it.” The rapper/actor — who executive produces the FX reality series “Black. White.” — has inked a deal with Dimension Films, the company that will be releasing “Kotter.” Production is expected to begin this fall with Tom Brady (“The Hot Chick,” “The Animal”) in final negotiations to direct and write the script.

Cube will assume the role of a wisecracking teacher who returns to the rough inner-city high school from which he graduated. There he encounters the next generation of unruly, underprivileged troublemakers — who are as apathetic about education as he once was.

In the original series, Mr. Kotter was played by Gabe Kaplan. Travolta played Vinnie Barbarino, a scatterbrained himbo and the unofficial leader of a gang of students nicknamed the “Sweathogs.”

Cube will be heading to Vancouver in June to start production on “Are We Done Yet?” the sequel to 2005’s “Are We There Yet?” The film remakes the 1948 classic “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House,” a Cary Grant comedy about a family that leaves the big city for a fixer-upper in the suburbs only to watch their investment turn from a dream to a nightmare.

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