Universal Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to HBO Films'untitled original musical starring Outkast's Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton,as well as Terrence Howard, Ving Rhames, Cicely Tyson and Macy Gray, among others.

Regular Outkast music video director Bryan Barber makes hisfeature directorial debut on the project, which shot in Wilmington, NorthCarolina, and Universal City, California, and will be released in 2006.

Set against the backdrop of a 1930s speakeasy in the Southern US,the story follows the loves and ambitions of two of the club's leadingperformers, played by Benjamin and Patton.

The picture will feature new songs from Outkast's upcomingsoundtrack album, which will be released on LaFace/Zomba Label Group before theend of this year.

Mosaic Media Group's Charles Roven and Robert Guralnick served asproducers, with Outkast manager William Green and Forensic Films' Robin O'Haraand Scott Macaulay serving as executive producers.

HBO Films senior vice president Keri Putnam oversaw the projectfor the company.

Andre Benjamin's featurecredits include Four Brothers and Be Cool. Patton has appeared in severaltelevision projects.

Universal willrelease its big screen version of the musical The Producers, starring Nathan Lane and MatthewBroderick, on Dec 21.