Drug tale next for Packer


Producer Will Packer will tackle the true story of Kemba Smith, who was pardoned by President Clinton after serving six years on a 24-year sentence for conspiracy to sell crack cocaine.

Packer ("Stomp the Yard") picked up the life rights to Smith's story and will produce the project through his Rainforest Films shingle. He's looking for a writer; production is slated to begin on the untitled drama in 2009.

Smith, who was brought up by middle-class professional parents in Richmond, Va., had no criminal record or problems before attending Hampton University, where she met a man who ended up being the leader of a $4 million crack cocaine ring and one of the FBI's 15 most wanted.

Although the government acknowledged that Smith never sold drugs or took them, she was charged with conspiracy to distribute crack and sentenced to 24 years in prison. Clinton pardoned her before he left office in 2000.

Packer is in preproduction on three projects with Screen Gems: The thriller "Obsessed," starring Beyonce Knowles; "Bone Deep," a crime-action drama starring Matt Dillon and Idris Elba; and the basketball drama "Phenom," starring Chris Brown and Vanessa Williams.