Keegan-Michael Key has joined the cast of Netflix’s upcoming blaxploitation biopic “Dolemite Is My Name!”, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap. The film is currently in production under the direction of Craig Brewer.
“Dolemite Is My Name!” stars Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore, who was known as the Godfather of Rap for his raunchy comedic rap albums. In the albums, Moore adopted the alter ego Dolemite, a garishly dressed pimp who would brag about his women and sexual exploits with racy lyrics.
In 1975, Moore used the profits from his albums to star and produce “Dolemite,” a blaxploitation film about the titular pimp who takes on a corrupt nightclub owner with the help of his kung fu prostitutes. The film is regarded as one of the biggest successes of the genre. In the upcoming film, Key will play Jerry Jones, the man whom Moore convinced to write the screenplay and who also starred in the film as an FBI agent who helps Dolemite from the shadows.
The signing comes as Netflix rolls out its “Strong Black Lead” initiative, which aims to expand and highlight the streaming service’s list of original programming featuring black creators in Hollywood. The cast of “Dolemite Is My Name!” also includes Wesley Snipes, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Da’Vine Joy Randolph and T.I.
Davis Entertainment’s John Davis and John Fox are producing the film with Murphy, while Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski wrote the script. The film will be released in 2019.
Key will next be seen this fall in Shane Black’s “The Predator,” and will also play one of the hyenas in Disney’s remake of “The Lion King.” He is repped by UTA and Bloom Hergott.