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A-List Directors Circling NWA Biopic

Written by on September 21, 2011 

Once upon a time, gangsta rap was new and terrifying. Before starring in family comedies, Ice Cube‘s main vocation was  rapping about scaring the hell out of white people, fucking the police, ripping people off, drugs and murder, all as a founding member of the seminal rap group N.W.A. (Niggaz Wit Attitude, a moniker matched only by Wu-Tang Clan for sheer awesomeness). Now, a solid 20 years after the group split in 1991, we may see a biopic about maybe the most influential rap group to come straight outta Compton, California…just not with the director we thought we’d have.

John Singleton was attached to direct for quite a while, but Vulture brings us the not-so-sad news that Singleton may be out of the running. Ever since his blistering debut film Boyz N The Hood, (which co-starred Cube), Singleton’s career has been wildly uneven – from the slick, brain-dead Hollywood sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious to the decent genre picture Four Brothers to the “seriously-Singleton-why?” upcoming Taylor Lautner vehicle Abduction, one would think going back to the well to bring the story of N.W.A to life would be an astute move, creatively.

New Line Cinemas seem to be focusing on three other directors, however. They are: F. Gary Gray, who helmed Friday and the supremely lame Get Shorty sequel Be Cool as well as Law Abiding Citizen; Friday Night Lights director (and super-cool actor) Peter Berg; Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan director Craig Brewer.

Singleton recently said that he’d be collaborating with Cube, who is producing:

“I can’t talk about it too prematurely 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. The script is really, really good, and so we’re just figuring it out. New Line really wants to make it.”

Sounds like the whole thing may be as up in the air as any potentially high-profile project. If Singleton bows out, I believe Brewer would be the best choice to helm this thing. Hustle & Flow is still possibly the best hip-hop movie ever directed by a white guy, and he has yet to direct something that isn’t at least perversely interesting (note that his upcoming re-tread of Footloose hasn’t been released yet).

Do you remember when gangsta rap was actually scary? Would you see a movie about N.W.A.?

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