Common may have to put his music career on hold for awhile. Just two months after the Grammy-winning rapper/producer linked up with Showtime for a coming of age drama, he has inked a two year commitment with the network’s premium cable competitor, HBO. The deal means that HBO will have a first look at every project that Common produces through his Freedom Road Productions.
While Common is primarily known as a hip-hop artist and composer — most recently winning an Oscar for his original song Glory (from 2014’s Selma) — he’s developed an extensive acting career since his 2002 film debut in the Taye Diggs rom-com Brown Sugar. He’s since played major roles in a variety of films including Smokin’ Aces, American Gangster, Wanted, Date Night, and Happy Feet Two. In March, he co-starred in the gangster thriller Run All Night alongside Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman and Ed Harris.
Now he’s able to develop his career as a producer. “I don’t take this blessing lightly and we (Freedom Road) will do ALL within are our strengths, vision and capacity to create some of the GREATEST stories EVER!” wrote common on his Facebook page. “Giving TV the art, integrity, social awareness, imagination, ingenuity and entertainment aspects that we have envisioned for a long time … This is a true opportunity to tell incredible stories that impact culture and improve lives.”
It’s unclear if Common has fleshed out any project ideas for HBO yet. He’s currently in the process of working on the pilot for his first TV production project for Showtime with Lena Waithe, Aaron Kaplan, and Clark Johnson. He’ll likely pick up some production tips from that gig to bring with him in his new role at HBO.