Karen Valby
July 27, 2010 AT 03:45 PM EDT

Common has scored another plum acting gig, landing one of the leading roles in a new AMC western that centers around the construction of the Transcontinental Road. The rap star, who recently charmed Queen Latifah in Just Wright, will play Elam, a biracial freed slave seeking his fortunes along the railroad line. Production is scheduled to begin this August.

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