Mario Van Peebles Gets Soapy

We're not sure what route, exactly, takes you from "New Jack City" to "All My Children," but Mario Van Peebles has traveled it.

Van Peebles is joining the cast of the ABC soap opera later this month. It's his second foray into daytime drama; one of his early acting jobs was a stint on "One Life to Live" during the early 1980s.

On "All My Children," he'll play Samuel Woods, a prosecutor who's making a run for the Senate. He catches the eye of Susan Lucci's character, Erica Kane, when he appears on her talk show, which leads to, in the breathless words of the ABC press release, "a lot more than a spike in ratings: Samuel will soon become a nightmare, though one that could turn into a romance!"

His first appearance is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 29.

Van Peebles' recent acting credits include a guest spot on "Law & Order," the Showtime movie "Crown Heights" and "Baadasssss," which he directed and starred in as an homage to his father, director Melvin Van Peebles. The movie earned Independent Spirit Award nominations in 2005 for best feature, best director and best screenplay, which Van Peebles wrote with Dan Haggerty.

His other directing credits include "New Jack City," "Posse" and episodes of "Damages" (he also guest-starred on the show).

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