Hollywood moves fast and literally days after director John Singleton told us he was in some early discussions about making a biopic about seminal gangsta rappers N.W.A. the tide appears to be shifting. But first let’s rewind a moment.
“I can’t talk about it too prematurely (sic) about the stuff I’m doing because nothing’s come to fruition yet, but Cube and I are talking about doing the N.W.A. story,” Singleton told The Playlist. “The script is really, really good, and so we’re just figuring it out. New Line really wants to make it.” Well it appears that latter point is true as Vulture reveal that the film, “Straight Outta Compton,” is coming together though with some different names being eyed for the director’s chair: Craig Brewer, F. Gary Gray and most bizarrely of all, Peter Berg.
Of course, Brewer’s credentials for this type of material are solid. We shouldn’t have to remind you that his hip-hop flavored sophomore directorial effort “Hustle & Flow” was nothing short of a sensation and it powered Three 6 Mafia all the way to an Oscar win for their song “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” He certainly knows how to make a gritty rap story compelling and palatable for mainstream audiences. And his subsequent efforts “Black Snake Moan” and the forthcoming “Footloose,” continues to find him melding music and drama. We may not be big fans of the director, but he’s a logical choice. Gray is a bit more interesting if only because he hasn’t taken on any projects since the ridiculous “Law Abiding Citizen” and his output tends to be spotty at best. But as a music video helmer for Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z and more, he certainly knows the milieu. The wildcard here is Peter Berg. He’s currently getting “Battleship” together which stars Rihanna for some reason so we suppose that is some sort of street cred, and the guy knows how to put together inspirational fare (see “Friday Night Lights“). But ‘Compton’ could be a good, lower budget film for the helmer who would be coming off two big effects movies (the other being “Hancock“).
Of course, this project has already been kicking around for a couple of years now and it’s exactly the kind of hard edged film studios — even smaller divisons like New Line — don’t really make. This isn’t a warm and fuzzy biopic about the rise and fall of a musician who touched millions around the world. This is about a notorious, filthy, foul mouthed and yes, totally excellent hip hop group who changed the game while rapping about killing cops, drugs and other stuff you wouldn’t tell your Mom about. This kind of reminds us of the “Tupac” movie that is forever threatening to get made but still gone nowhere. That said, any of these names could get it moving and we’re curious to see how the eventual casting will go down.