Rapper-actor DMX options first-time director’s short film for feature

A chance meeting on an L.A. street between rapper DMX and novice filmmaker Raymond Thomas led to DMX’ company optioning Thomas’ first short film to developing it into a feature.

DMX’ company, Bloodline Films of L.A. will produce Thomas’ “12 Minutes.” DMX will star as the ill-fated father who must unite with his son before it’s too late.

Thomas, who has been a graphic designer and art director at Johnson Publishing for 15 years, wrote and directed the 30-minute 16mm film in 2001.

The narrative drama was shot over four days with a cast and crew of around 30. Jeff Brown was DP and Barbara Allen edited. Thomas financed most of the $30,000 budget himself.

Thomas’ co-executive producer was his friend Randy Crumpton, an entertainment attorney, state senator Ken Dunkin’s campaign manager and a member of the film industry Task Force.

Thomas said the short has “semi-autographical elements that mirror my life.” He is the real life son portrayed by Kuwuan Allen as Ronny. “12 Minutes” is the story of Ronald Taylor (Eric Lane) who is scheduled to be executed for a murder he committed 12 years earlier. Taylor’s only request is to see his son Ronny, born the night of the murder but whom Taylor has never met, but feels he must make a connection with Ronny before his time runs out.

Thomas was in L.A. when he ran into DMX by chance on the street. They stopped to talk and Thomas invited the rapper to an upcoming screening of his film. DMX declined but accepted a video of “12 Minutes” Thomas had with him. Some time later, DMX contacted Thomas indicating his interest in making a feature based on “12 Minutes.” After 18 months of negotiation a deal was cut and option money paid.

Rapper DMX has been in five movies. His latest, opening March 24, is “Never Die Alone,” which was produced by his Bloodlines Film Co. and distributed by Fox Searchlight. DMX previously appeared in “Cradle 2 the Grave,” “Belly,” “Romeo Must Die” and “Exit Wounds.” His first four number one albums sold more than 22 million copies in four years.

Randy Crumpton can be reached at 312/583-9424.