Azealia Banks to make film debut

Azealia Banks to make film debut in RZA-directed musical, 'Coco'

Azealia Banks is ready for her close-up.

The provocative rapper -- whose litany of Twitter spats gets as much, if not more, attention as her music -- snagged her first leading role in a feature film, according to Deadline

Banks will star in "Coco," a music drama directed by Wu-Tang overlord RZA, who made his directorial debut with 2012's action flick "Man with the Iron Fists."

The Harlem spitfire will play the title character in the film, which also stars hip-hop statesmen Common and soul singer Jill Scott, both of whom have built impressive resumes in both film and TV. Lucien Laviscount, Lorraine Toussaint and Hana Mae Lee are also on board.

Set in Brooklyn, Banks' Coco is a twentysomething aspiring rapper who wants to break into hip-hop but struggles to pursue both her music and her parents' dream of finishing college after a record deal falls through.

While in school Coco discovers the world of slam poetry, which further ignites her passion for hip-hop. Deadline writes that the film has an "'8 Mile' edge" to it.  

Before focusing on rap, Banks studied at the famed LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan. At 16, she landed an agent and auditioned for Nickelodeon and "Law & Order" without success, which in turn made her walk away from pursuing acting. 

Late last year Banks surprise-released her debut album, “Broke With Expensive Taste,” which landed her on a number of year-end lists (including The Times') for its infectious, genre-bursting rhythms and twisty, often outlandish verses.

"Coco" will be released through Lionsgate and Codeblack Films.

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