First a quick recap…
Just over 3 years 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, March 3, 2013, Nick Cannon was reportedly to star in the movie, as Rick Ross. No word on whether that’s still to be the case, or if Nick Cassevetes is still involved in the project – at least as a writer.
We’ve been tracking this for a few years now, so let’s see if this actually goes anywhere with Cannon (or whoever else) attached.
Skip ahead another 1 1/2 years to today, as I learned that a documentary on Ross will air on Al Jazeera American in February 2015. Titled “Freeway: Crack in the System,” I was sent a trailer of the project, along with the below information on its contents:
Freeway: Crack in the System tells the story of “broken dreams, drug dealers, dirty cops, and government complicity – more compelling than fiction, it’s the real story behind America’s longest war.
Coming to Al Jazeera America in February, 2015. Check your local listings or our channel finder: http://america.aljazeera.com/tools/ch…
This documentary by award-winning filmmaker Marc Levin (SLAM, Mr. Untouchable, Brick City) exposes how the infiltration of crack-cocaine destroyed inner-city neighborhoods across the country. At the center of it all is the rise, fall and redemption of Freeway Rick Ross, a street hustler who became the King of Crack and journalist Gary Webb who broke the story of the CIA’s complicity in the drug war. Featuring exclusive interviews with Freeway Rick Ross, not to be confused with the multi-gold selling rapper who stole his name; Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Gary Webb, his source Coral Baca, and wife Susan Webb; former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff Robert Juarez, drug trafficker Julio Zavala and many more.
So while it’s not the scripted feature film that has been in development for years, it’s likely one step closer, as there clearly is interest in Ross’ story. And this Al Jazeera project just might stimulate progress on the scripted feature.
Trailer below for “Freeway: Crack in the System,” which is directed by Marc Levin: