We are two days away from the premiere of the long awaited biopic film about the legendary West Coast rap group N.W.A. (N*ggaz Wit Attitudes). In Straight Outta Compton , veteran director F. Gary Gray (Friday , The Italian Job , Law Abiding Citizen) takes us to a late 80's California and shows us the atmosphere of her gangster rap city of Compton. With the help of writers Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff , they recreate the rise and fall story of the rap unit formed by Dr. Dre , Eazy-E , Ice Cube, Mc Ren & DJ Yella , as well as their involvement in the streets , their relationship with the industry and their influential movement.
Here are 10 facts related to the N.W.A biopic that you probably didn't know :
1.- The discussion & pre-production of the movie started back in 2009 , but it wasn't until December 2013 that Universal Pictures picked up on the project by hiring director F. Gary Gray. Due to the solid relationship between Gray and producer Ice Cube , Dr. Dre got devotedly involved with the film.
2.- Casting calls started back in June 2010 and the final cast was selected 4 years later (June 2014) , two months before starting to shoot on location. Compton rapper YG auditioned to play MC Ren in the film but did not get the role. Actor Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station, Chronicle) was originally cast to play Dr. Dre but due to scheduling problems, he chose to pursue the role of Johnny "The Human Torch'' Storm in the new Fantastic 4 franchise. (Now Marvel's lowest ranked superhero movie)
3.- The director and producers wanted to cast fresh faces and actors with no baggage to play the Compton characters. Ice Cube's role is played by his son O'Shea Jackson Jr. After two years of preparation, including acting training and going through every stage of the selection just like everyone else , the director casted O’Shea based on his skills and not nepotism. As a matter of fact , Lil Eazy-E, Eazy-E's son, auditioned to play his father's role but was denied the part by Gary and the producers who thought the role should be given to an actor that could portray such a complex character as Eazy and knock it out off the park with the delivery. However, Lil Eazy remained involved with the production and went on to coach the chosen Jason Mitchell.
4.- While supervising the production of the movie, Dr. Dre sat down with actor Corey Hawkins, who plays his role in the movie, and during one of their dinners, the hip hop mogul advised Hawking to stay away from trying to imitate him and aim to embody the character, this led to a performance Dre was ultimately very pleased with. The ''Compton : a soundtrack by Dr. Dre'' album wasn't planned before the shooting of the movie. Dre stated that he got inspired so much by the story and the reenactments of his early career that he secretly went back to the studio and recorded a bunch of songs. In the end, sixteen of them made the cut and were featured on his farewell album, released on August 7th trough Apple Music and iTunes. Dr. Dre also stated that his new album's royalties would be donated to the city of Compton and its plan to build a new performing arts facility.
5.- During the film's promotional radio tour, Ice Cube revealed to the Breakfast Club that despite never being officially signed to N.W.A , he still got paid. That conflict is one of the many stories addressed in the movie.
6.-The theatrical running time for Straight Outta Compton is 2 hours and 27 minutes long. The director Gary Gray ended up having to cut out one hour of content for commercial reasons. Nonetheless, Gary claims his desire to make a movie as raw as the N.W.A debut album ''Straight Outta Compton" was successfully achieved with the theatrical version but still plans to release the 3 hours and 30 minutes director's cut version this winter for the DVD/Blu-ray release of the movie.
7.- Dr.Dre is not the only character portrayed in the movie that released a music project last week. Long Beach rapper Warren G , played by actor Sheldon A. Smith, released a five track EP called '' Regulate... G Funk Era Part II the E.P '' with appearances by Jeezy , Bun B, E-40 , Too $hort and four out of five songs feature amazing vocals by the late great Nate Dogg.
8.- As part of the promotional tour for the movie , DJ Rella , Ice Cube & Mc Ren reunited on stage during the B.E.T Experience 2015 for a 23 minute set in front of a packed Staples Center. The rumours of a reunion tour alongside Dr. Dre & Eminem then started spreading like wildfire around the Internet and although Ice Cube indicated that he would love to see this tour happen, a few Universal executives later denied the rumour.
9.- The critically acclaimed movie and urban classic ''Boyz n the Hood'' released in 1991, borrowed its title from Eazy-E's debut single with N.W.A in 1987. The movie director John Singleton originally wanted the members of N.W.A. to be featured in the film as part of Ice Cube's character entourage but Cube's then conflicting relationship with the rest of the group forced Singleton to recast the roles. You can actually spot the ''chain-snatcher'' character in the movie wearing an Eazy-E t-shirt.
10.- Cube confirmed that they filmed a Tupac scene for the movie, played by newcomer Marc Rose who is rumored to also portray Shakur in the upcoming John Singleton movie : ''Tupac''
Straight Outta Compton premieres on Friday. Don't miss the highly anticipated movie about one of the most influential rap cliques of all time and the story behind their music. Check your local cinema listings as some of them offer an early screening on Thursday night. Coming to you straight from the underground.