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Universal Picks Up N.W.A. Biopic From New Line w/ F. Gary Gray Directing. New Writer Hired

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act December 18, 2013 at 6:46PM

Universal Picks Up N.W.A. Biopic From New Line w/ F. Gary Gray Directing. New Writer Hired
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Dre Gray

Updates on a project that's long been in development, which may or may not signify genuine progress...


Universal Pictures has hired Jonathan Herman to write the latest draft of the N.W.A. biopic that F. Gary Gray is attached to direct, with former member of the seminal rap group, Ice Cube, producing. 

I actually thought this was already in the can, and in post-production, especially after director Gray shared the above on-set photo late last year, on Twitter, along with the caption:


Dre & F Gary Gray - The NWA Movie kicks off the collaboration! Expect more incredible projects from this powerhouse duo

... Which suggested that production might be underway. 

Apparently, that wasn't the case. Maybe the pair was just scouting locations... or something. 

Gray even posted a casting notice, which we shared HERE, seeking actors to play the film's 5 leads.

Originally set up at New Line, Universal picked up the project in turnaround, with F. Gary Gray still attached to direct - so says The Hollywood Reporter. John Singleton was, at one time, interested in directing.

You'll recall that 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; The son said that there was a "high probability" that he'd play the part; the daughter just wanted her shot. She even created an audition video, demonstrating her chameleon skills, which you can watch HERE.

When asked about all of that, 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.

Also worth noting, Eazy-E's widow, Tomica Woods, who inherited his share of NWA song rights, was also previously said to be involved, as a producer. This was when the project was languishing at New Line. At the time, Andrea Berloff, who wrote the screenplay to Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, was to pen the script. Jonathan Herman (whose only IMDB writing credit is for an erotic short film titled Firepussy) will write a new draft.

But here are a couple of questions for you folks: do any of you really want to see an NWA biopic? Fans of the group are 20+ years older now (myself included, while in high school during those days). And, while I can't speak for others, I can say that I'm not all-that interested in seeing a film based on the the group's story. I enjoyed the music - and even occasionally still blast it from time to time (with its thumping beats, and hard lyrics, it's great to work out with); but that's good enough for me; I'm not keen on seeing a film about them, and I wonder if others from my generation, who grew up with the music, feel the same way. I wonder who the film's target audience will be. I'd go out on a limb and say those under the age of 30 may not even be familiar enough with the group and its music to want to pay $12 to see their lives unfold on the big screen. So what audience is this film being made for? I don't know.

This article is related to: F. Gary Gray, Ice Cube


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