Nick Cannon Set To Play Lead In Biopic On Life Of 1980s Drug Dealer 'Freeway' Rick Ross

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by Tambay A. Obenson
March 5, 2013 12:27 PM
20 Comments
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First a quick recap...

Just over 2years ago, Nick Cassavetes (son of indie film trailblazer John Cassavetes) signed on to direct a biopic about notorious 1980s drug dealer Rick Ross (not the rapper).

The film would reportedly explore Ross's ingenious and complex scheme of the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles during the early 80s - the height of his success - moving 100 kilograms of cocaine daily, which was distributed across the country - product that he claims was supplied by Nicaraguan rebels/Contras.

Naturally, we can expect some mention of the Iran-Contra affair of the late 1980s.

"My brother was a mercenary. He worked in Central America training the Contras, so in a way the story is personal to me... The fact that our government may have been complicit in destroying an entire community of people makes the story personal for everyone," Cassavetes said at the time.

And further... "if I had to compare this movie to another that's been made in terms of a feeling, a point of view, maybe 'Traffic'," of course referring to Steven Soderbergh's Oscar-winning 2000 film that explored the illegal drug trade from several different POVs.

Ross said the film would focus mostly on his adult life, though not including the 20 years he spent behind bars.

"We become addicted to the power, the money, the manipulation, the whole lifestyle, the whole drug culture... And you are going to get to see this in the movie, how a guy goes from being a novice to being a drug expert," Ross said.

At the time of that last post, exactly 1 year ago, March 5, 2012, no actors had signed on to star in the film, though Ross said he had talked directly to Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Ryan Gosling and Jamie Foxx about starring in and/or producing the movie.

Fast-forward to two days ago, March 3, 2013, when the below video popped up on YouTube, featuring Ross and Nick Cannon talking briefly about the project, revealing that Cannon will star in the movie, as Rick Ross.

As far as I can tell, Nick Cassevetes is still involved in the project - at least as a writer. But the video doesn't reveal anything else, like whether financing has been secured, who else might be involved, when production might start, etc...

We've been tracking this for a few years now, so let's see if this actually goes anywhere with Cannon attached.

Here's the video:

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20 Comments

  • john stevenson | March 7, 2013 3:44 AMReply

    The author of this piece is ignorant. He said the story is based out of miami how are you that detached from us history it s los Angeles unplug from pop culture and rap. It was only on abc cbs in the tines and on cspan. In addition after will smith all black talent has limited foreign sales, in addition under forty actors are nonexistent bc of these type of ignorant stories.

    Many of the other comments are plainly ignorant. Sounds like disconnected people that don't know this story or its potential impact on the war on drugs by refocusing who is the true villain.

  • WHAT!? | March 7, 2013 8:59 AM

    "Many of the other comments are plainly ignorant" says the king of ignorance. Take a look at this, Dumbo John. "The film would reportedly explore Ross's ingenious and complex scheme of the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles during the early 80s - moving 100 kilograms of cocaine daily"

    ONE HUNDRED KILOGRAMS A DAY!... destroying an entire community of people!

    "And you are going to get to see this in the movie, how a guy goes from being a novice to being a drug expert," said Ross.

    Now ol' ignorant one, tell us how any of this will have an impact on the war on drugs? Only a zip fool (and an ignorant one at that) would suggest that refocusing on the government's complicity in this whole mess will have a modicum of impact on today's drug suppliers, drug sales and drug use in the USA. But school us, tell us what we don't know?

  • Small Town Loner | March 7, 2013 1:20 AMReply

    I bet having your name and image re-appropriated by the masses by a former correctional officer doesn't seem that embarrassing, eh Freeway?

  • josh | March 5, 2013 4:29 PMReply

    Juman is right if they do this story right ,the right way.It'll be a big success somewhere gary webb is looking down and smiling.

  • CC | March 6, 2013 6:39 AM

    Do it right? Please, tell us how that goes?

    Lets see, Gary Webb, the journalist who committed suicide, wrote a scathing news series about the CIA and crack cocaine. So it's the CIA's fault that freeway Rick Ross poisoned thousands of lives. And consequently, he's not a bad guy after all.

    But wait, that's not the Freeway Rick Ross Story. That's "Kill the Messenger" starring Jeremy Renner. Gary Webb, the deceased journalist is a white guy. Freeway Rick Ross is the black drug dealer who is idolized by many in the black community. His story is one of a usurper whose street creed is what dreams are made of (for many who are locked-in or predisposed to a life of crime, drug abuse, jails, institutions and an early grave).

    Sly and The Family Stone said it best:

    It's a family affair, it's a family affair. One child grows up to be somebody that just loves to learn. And another child grows up to be somebody you'd just love to burn.

    Mom loves the both of them
    You see it's in the blood
    Both kids are good to Mom
    "Blood's thicker than mud"
    You can't cry, 'cause you'll look broke down
    But you're cryin' anyway 'cause you're all broke down!
    It's a family affair

    The Freeway Rick Ross story can never be "done" right. It's already a "done" deal.

  • M&d | March 5, 2013 2:46 PMReply

    Black people need this type of movie in theaters like we need a rain storm raining down on our communities with the HIV viruses.

  • juman | March 5, 2013 4:00 PM

    not if you really know the entire story and how he got the drugs and who he got the drugs from (which they might not show) but still, its not a "normal" drug story so...

  • M&d | March 5, 2013 2:45 PMReply

    Black people need this type of movie in theaters like we need a rain storm raining down on our communities with the HIV viruses.

  • CC | March 5, 2013 1:22 PMReply

    Conjunction Junction, what's your function? Hanging out with cocksuckers, motherf*ckers and thieves.

    Please excuse my french, but when I think about the moral of this story, it makes me want to pimp-slap a motherfu*ker. But, lets see how this works.

    A black man is directly responsible for destroying thousands (if not millions) of black lives, yet, in the end he can make movies and hob-knob with the rich and famous. GTFOOH! Who wants to see that self-serving-ego-stroking bullsh*t?

    Everyone who protested against the movies The Help and Django should gather their signs and run across the highway to Rick & Nick's house.

  • AI | March 12, 2013 1:53 PM

    I'm not a Mr.

    I don't think you know what conjecture means. This is ALL conjecture, just people discussing what a movie could or could not be.

    I also don't think you comprehended what I wrote. The "something worthwhile" is the deconstruction of the myth. And yes, it's a myth, because, for all the reasons you described, despite the money and influence, Rick Ross is not just the glamorous person he's made to be in rap lyrics (by which most people know of him)... he's left a trail of death and destruction behind him, the discussion of which I am sure someone (especially someone younger than the generation that saw New Jack City, Traffic, Fresh, etc.) would find instructive.

    As I mentioned before, I'm not a very big fan of most gangster movies for all the reasons we just discussed. And this movie may very well do the exact same thing. Did I say that it WILL be different? No. Did I say it's LIKELY that it'll be different? No. All I am saying is that there are ways to discuss this topic artistically and constructively that may really affect people and make them think. Such a movie today may also be effective bc the seminal works that have achieved that very elusive goal are now generation(s) old and may not speak to (or even be known to) a new crop of people.

    I've seen it done well before, so there is a "thread of substance" to my "Ifs." So like any other controversial movie, I'll wait on the details (where the devil indeed is) to make a judgment. That's it.

    And as I really don't care for your patronizing tone, I'm done. Have a good day.

  • Hmmm... | March 10, 2013 10:06 PM

    Hmmm... sparks are flying. Game recognize game. Tell 'em CC.

  • CC | March 9, 2013 9:30 AM

    Opps! IF... if Highway Rick Ross's or any drug kingpin's lifestyle; fame, women, money and influence, "WAS" a myth, I'd be more inclined to accept to your rebuttal on the "deconstruct" issue. Unfortunately, it's not... it's all too true.

  • CC | March 9, 2013 9:29 AM

    Opps! IF... if Highway Rick Ross's or any drug kingpin's lifestyle; fame, women, money and influence, "WAS" a myth, I'd be more inclined to accept to your rebuttal on the "deconstruct" issue. Unfortunately, it's not... it's all too true.

  • CareyCarey | March 9, 2013 6:00 AM

    Hello Mr. AI, sorry, didn't see you sitting here. Now where do I begin? Oh... so it's terribly myopic to conclude that such a movie could never contribute anything worthwhile? Well, since you've built your opinion on a foundation of conjecture, ambiguity and wishful thinking, I understand why caution eludes you.

    Listen, it's not about duplicity per se, it's about the devil in the details. Consequently, your overview of "COULD BE something worthwhile"... and "MAY BE an important tool to deconstruct the myth"... and "IF this Cassavates writer", is all akin to wishing on a star. There's not a tread of substance in your could-be's, if's, and "POSSIBLY somethings worthwhile." However, since I like nothing more than to partake in discussions on movie, I'll play along in this world of if's and could-be's.

    IF... if Rick Ross WAS NOT a myth, I could understand your position.

    IF... if you would define your elusive "something worthwhile"... it would help support your opinion.

    IF... if this story cut to the chase, leaving out the rags to riches story-line, moving on to portray Rick Ross as the Hitler-ish villain that he is, I'd be inclined to pay attention.

    IF... if a story-line reminiscent of the raining frogs event in the 1999 American drama "Magnolia" finds its way in this film, I am all ears. I mean, if the director could include a raining bodies event, that would be great. If a replica of every citizen who died because of their connection to Rick Ross's reign of terror, could fall from the sky throughout the movie, that would be something worthwhile.

    IF... if this movie didn't waste time rehashing old self-serving-ego-stroking-superficial rhetoric about some old Nicaragua angle, I might be interested. If instead, it focused on the thousands of permanently damaged crack addicted mothers and babies whose live where/are destroyed by the hands of the now smiling Mr. Ross, I'd pay to see it.

    IF... if one scene traveled to an AIDS ward to witness suffering black women who contracted the virus while prostituting their bodies to feed a vicious habit/disease, then I might champion this film.

    In short AI, I've seen New Jack City, American Gangster, Paid In Full, Traffic and Blow, so I am all filled up. As Huey Lewis said:

    I want a new drug
    One that won't make me sick
    One that won't make me crash my car
    Or make women suck di*k

    I want a new drug
    One that won't make me nervous
    Wonderin' what to do
    One that makes me feel like I feel when I'm in a new school

  • AI | March 7, 2013 4:36 PM

    Oh, so what you're saying is not that the drug trade is so offensive it shouldn't be committed to film, but that Rick Ross's story is so duplicative it should not be committed to film? Hmm...
    It appears that you are suggesting that once a topic has been covered and the corresponding morals have been advanced, that there is nothing more to be gleaned from it. What's to be gained, you say? Well, when you are dealing with a historical figure, in particular, film may be an important tool to DECONSTRUCT the myth that's already been created around that person. Because right now, tweens, teens, and young adults only associate Rick Ross's persona with the glamorous "Boss" lifestyle boaster by the rapper who's adopted his name. Not to mention, there is no accounting for the renewal of an already-explored topic in art through the addition of a new perspective. If this Cassavates writer adds the perspective of the Nicaraguans affected by all this with the Iran-Contra scandal, it may indeed be a unique film that adds something worthwhile to the discussion. I'm not saying that this movie will be all those things, but it's terribly myopic to conclude that such a movie could never contribute anything worthwhile. I'm going to wait on more details.

  • CareyCarey | March 5, 2013 10:10 PM

    NOPE, that's not what I am saying AT ALL. Now listen, I am saying THIS STORY should not be championed.

    Look, "art" aside, what's to be gained by revisiting Freeway Rick Ross' story? What, joyful entertainment? Surely we are not going to learn anything new about the evils of drugs and drug addiction. Everyone knows that most drug user and drug pusher end up in jails or graves. Surely you know that, right? But maybe, someone might believe that if they do "it" slightly different than Mr. Ross, they might reap the benefits of the game, huh?

    So again, what might a young mind learn and use from this movie (The drug dealer, Freeway Rick Ross story) that they don't already know?

  • AI | March 5, 2013 9:20 PM

    Now it sounds like you're saying NO movies should be made about the drug trade. We can't pretend it didn't happen. Art has to portray life.

  • CareyCarey | March 5, 2013 7:42 PM

    "they often end up making the drug trade look glamorous"

    That's my exact point. I don't care what the director said or what his intent is, Freeway Rick Ross is directly responsible for the destruction of thousands, and now, he's making a movie and hanging out with the rich and fabulous. And, who really cares about an alledged "phenomenon", we all know the end of the story.

    So what now, Mr Ross points fingers and implicates others? Please, it is what it is, a drug story and we've seen too many of them in the movies and in our back yards. So I co-sign M&D... "Black people need this type of movie in theaters like we need a rain storm raining down on our communities with the HIV viruses."

  • AI | March 5, 2013 4:04 PM

    The director's description of his vision doesn't sound like it's moral is to glorify this lifestyle (see: Rick Ross the rapper for an example of that) but to expose, in his words, a phenomenon that "destroy[ed] an entire community of people." I'm not a big fan of drug movies bc, despite their intent, they often end up making the drug trade look glamorous, but there are quite a few that capture the tragedy of it all. I guess we'll see.

  • urbanauteur | March 5, 2013 12:40 PMReply

    No Nick!...go with actor:MALCOLM(american gangster) GOODWIN

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