The St. Louis rapper will portray a rock and roll pioneer in his first big-screen role in 15 years.

Nelly is leaping from the small screen to the silver one.

According to Variety, the St. Louis rapper has been cast as rock and roll icon (and fellow Missourian,) Chuck Berry, in the upcoming Buddy Holly biopic, Clear Lake. Named after the small Iowa town where Holly performed his final show and tragically died in a 1959 plane crash (along with Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper,) the film is centered on luminary rock and roll artists and their navigation of the civil rights movement. Ruairi O’Connor will take the lead as Holly in the film, while Colin Hanks steps in as Holly’s manager and producer, Norman Petty, and Dianne Guerrero (of Orange is The New Black and Doom Patrol ) stars as the late rocker’s wife, Maria Elena Holly. Rick French and Stuart Benjamin are on board to produce the film, which is being developed with BMG and the full blessing of the Holly Estate.

It’s quite the jump for “Country Grammar” rapper, who last starred in a feature film in the 2005 remake of The Longest Yard alongside Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds, Tracy Morgan, Terry Crews, and more. Currently, Nelly is currently competing on the new season of Dancing with The Stars, where he recently donned a leather corset, a backward bandana, and some pretty decent footwork to pay tribute to Tupac, dancing to the late rapper’s “California Love” on last week’s episode of the show.

A release date has yet to be announced. Stay tuned for updates in the weeks and months ahead.


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