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F. Gary Gray Looking For "Hood Factor" and "Street Cred" in Cast for Upcoming N.W.A. Biopic

by Vanessa Martinez
April 7, 2014 11:33 AM
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Recall back in February, when we posted some details on the casting of Universal Pictures N.W.A. biopic, directed by F. Gary Gray (with Jonathan Herman writing the last draft), and produced by Ice Cube, former member of the seminal rap group. Also worth noting, Eazy-E's widow, Tomica Woods, who inherited his share of NWA song rights, is also said to be involved in the project as a producer.

To recap on our last update, both Eazy E's son and daughter claimed that they were either in the running, or would be the best fits to play their father in the movie. Easy E's son said that there was a "high probability" that he'd play the part, and Eazy E's daughter also wanted a shot at playing the part. She even created an audition video, demonstrating her chameleon skills, which you can watch HERE.

In regards to the aforementioned, producer Ice Cube said that no promises had been made to anyone regarding casting, and everyone was going to have to earn whatever role is given to them, whether actors or children of the real-life men of NWA who want to play their fathers.

Cube added that none of the real members of NWA will be in the film; not even in cameos apparently.

When asked specifically about the NWA biopic, Cube said:

We're getting the script tight and we're starting to cast. Hopefully we'll start shooting in April. We've had a few different writers; we're still working that out. We're going for a dramatic story that encompasses hip-hop, dope-dealing, Reaganomics, Aids, LAPD, rap feuds, FBI, PMRC, the Parental Advisory stickers on the records ... all of it.

Furthermore, when asked about rumors that his son, O'Shea Jackson Jr playing him in the film, Ice Cube had said that he's been "trying to get that pushed along. Just wanna make sure that he's the best man for the job."

However, as of yet, nothing has been set in stone, because director F. Gary Gray told the Rolling Stones what he was looking for in actors to cast for the parts of Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice-Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella and Arabian Prince (if "the crew's whole story is told").

Gray said he's looking for that "certain thing that a person from the hood has," adding that, "there are times where a thespian can get there and give it to you, sometimes they can't, and street credibility it's just that thing. When you watch American Idol and they have that 'It Factor' – there's a 'Hood Factor.' You get the authenticity when you're in an environment likes this, and you have an open call, and I've been seeing that, and I'm pretty happy with it." 

The upcoming film is set to begin shooting this summer for a release next year, according to producers.

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More: F. Gary Gray, Ice Cube

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  • kid video | April 7, 2014 9:07 PMReply

    I auditioned for the role of DJ Yella(posted a clip to youtube, sent casting a link) a month ago and havent heard anything...guess i didnt have"it"

  • @MsWilliamsWorld | April 7, 2014 11:41 AMReply

    He's gonna probably have to go the route Michael Schultz went for 'Cooley High'. While some may not like the terminology, F. Gary Gray IS right; there really is just a "hood factor" that not even an actor can always achieve.

  • Donella | April 7, 2014 5:53 PM

    Chris Rock mocked NWA about authentic street cred for CB4. What F. Gary Gray feels may be an issue, many not actually be an issue.

  • @MsWilliamsWorld | April 7, 2014 5:38 PM

    Alp, I grew up in the 70s-80s in one of Chicago's public housing projects; simulations of rap music videos popped off ALL the time. ;-)

  • alp | April 7, 2014 4:38 PM

    Ever been on a rap music video set? 24/7 funtime.

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