Combs, Ledger Sign on for Monster

The world may finally find out if rap star Sean "P. Diddy" Combs can act. After a clash with director Oliver Stone led to his drop-kicking the football film Any Given Sunday, the former Puff Daddy is again venturing into films.

Combs, who avoided a real-life prison term after being acquitted of gun and bribery charges earlier this year, is negotiating to play a death row inmate in Monster's Ball.

The dark drama will star Billy Bob Thornton, Heath Ledger, and Everybody Loves Raymond's Peter Boyle as father, son, and grandfather in the contemporary South. The story centers on Thornton and Ledger, who operate the electric chair at the local prison. Halle Berry plays Combs' character's girlfriend, with whom Thornton falls in love, despite his racism.

Ledger, whose first starring film, A Knight's Tale, opens this weekend, takes over for Wes Bentley, who was originally set to play Thornton's son.

The film, directed by Marc Forster (Vanished), will be filmed in Louisiana, in part at Angola State prison.

This summer, Combs will appear in Made, a comedy about low-level mobsters that reteams Swingers dudes Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn. Combs is not one of the major characters in the film, but his influence in New York reportedly came in handy during the filming — he gained the crew access to expensive clubs such as Spa, China Club, and 357.