Having established himself as a talented music video director, F. Gary Gray was bound to make a successful transition to feature films. Gray made good on his creative promise when he directed the surp...
Rapper Ice Cube gave Australian fans a treat during a recent gig in Sydney by previewing upcoming N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. The hip-hop hitmaker screened the trailer for the film midway through a concert last month (Dec14).
Directed by F Gary Gray, the teaser featured Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson, Jr., who plays his dad in the film, and Paul Giamatti, who portrays the group's manager Jerry Heller.
The film is set for release later this year (15).
Actor Keith Stanfield has been cast to play a young Snoop Dogg in the upcoming N.W.A. biopic.
The Purge: Anarchy star will join Jason Mitchell, Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson, Jr. and Corey Hawkins, who will portray the late Eazy-E, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, respectively, in Straight Outta Compton, according to TheWrap.com. Meanwhile, Sheldon A. Smith has been chosen to play rapper Warren G and Carra Patterson from Why Did I Get Married Too? will portray Eazy-E's widow Tomica Woods.
F. Gary Gray will direct the film about Compton, California rappers Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, the late Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella's rise to fame in the late 1980s and their subsequent split in 1991.
The movie is scheduled to hit theatres in August, 2015.
Sideways star Paul Giamatti has given F. Gary Gray's N.W.A. biopic some real star power after signing on to play music mogul Jerry Heller in the film. Heller, who represented Elton John, Pink Floyd and Journey, managed the rap act that featured Ice Cube and Dr. Dre.
He also founded Ruthless Records with N.W.A. star Eazy-E.
Giamatti joins producer Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson, Jr. who will portray his dad in the movie, Straight Outta Compton, and other actors including Jason Mitchell and Corey Hawkins.
It's not the first time he'll play a ruthless music boss on the big screen - he portrayed Tom Cruise's slippery manager Paul Gill in Rock of Ages.
Actors Aldis Hodge and Neil Brown, Jr. have been added to the cast of the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. Hodge will play MC Ren, while Brown Jr. will portray DJ Yella in the film, which will also feature Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson, Jr. as the MC, Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre and Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E.
F. Gary Gray will direct the film about the Compton, California rappers' rise to fame in the late 1980s, and their subsequent split in 1991.
The movie is scheduled to hit theatres in August, 2015.
Rapper/actor Ice Cube has opened up about his controversial decision not to cast the late Eazy-E's son as the hip-hop icon in his forthcoming N.W.A. biopic, insisting the role required an experienced actor with "a lot of range". Eazy-E's son, Eric Wright, Jr., auditioned for the Straight Outta Compton film job and recently admitted he was disappointed after movie bosses decided to cast newcomer Jason Mitchell as the younger version of his tragic father.
Now Ice Cube, who is serving as one of the project's producers, has explained the reasons behind the decision, insisting aspiring actor Wright, Jr. simply wasn't a good fit.
Speaking to Colorado radio station KS 107.5, Ice Cube says, "He (Wright, Jr.) is an up-and-coming actor trying to do it, but we needed somebody who was a little more polished to play Eazy, because he goes through a lot in his life. He goes from selling dope in Compton to fighting for his life in a hospital bed. So we needed to find an actor with a lot of range. And we just couldn't use just anybody. We gave him (Wright, Jr.) a shot, and it just didn't work out."
Wright, Jr. wasn't the only N.W.A. offspring snubbed for a role in the film - Dr. Dre's aspiring actor/rapper son Curtis Young was also passed over in favour of Corey Hawkins, although Ice Cube's kid, O'Shea Jackson, Jr., will play his dad onscreen.
Meanwhile, the remaining N.W.A. bandmates MC Ren and DJ Yella will be played by Aldis Hodge and Neil Brown, Jr., respectively.
F. Gary Gray will direct the film about the rise of the iconic California rap group and their split in 1991.
The biopic is scheduled for release next summer (15).
Veteran hip-hop mogul Master P is turning his life story in a movie trilogy. The rapper, real name Percy Miller, has unveiled plans for his own series of biopics, with the first instalment, The Ice Cream Man, documenting his early upbringing and the formation of his own label, No Limit Records in 1990.
The title pays homage to his hit 1996 album of the same name.
Casting is currently underway, with production due to begin next year (15). A director has yet to be attached to the project.
Master P will follow up the first film with sequels TRU and No Limit The Empire, which will explore his rise to fame and his dominance of the rap charts in the mid-to-late 1990s.
A release date for The Ice Cream Man has yet to be announced, but it won't be the only hip-hop biopic to hit movie theatres - director F. Gary Gray is taking charge of N.W.A. film Straight Outta Compton, which is expected to be released next year (15).
Rap mogul Dr. Dre halted plans for his son to portray him on the big screen in N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton over fears he didn't have enough acting experience. F. Gary Gray will direct the film about the rise of the California rap group, which included Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, the late Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella, and their split in 1991.
The cast was announced last week (ends22Jun14) and includes O'Shea Jackson, Jr., playing his father Ice Cube, and Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E.
Newcomer Marcus Callender landed the role of Dre, but the hip-hop veteran's aspiring actor/rapper son Curtis Young reveals he auditioned for the role first.
He says, "I actually tried out for the role, 'cause the casting company called me. But my father wanted somebody with more acting experience, and I haven't been acting for a long time, so I'm happy for the guy that got the role. It's one of those things where we want what's best for the movie and for the film. I had a lot of fans that were upset about it, but whatever's best for the film."
The biopic is set for release in 2015
Bosses at Universal movie studios have confirmed Corey Hawkins, O'shea Jackson, Jr. and Jason Mitchell will lead the cast of the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton.
Reports suggesting newcomer Marcus Callender had been cast as rapper Dr. Dre in the film surfaced earlier this week (begs16Jun14), but on Wednesday (18Jun14), movie executives revealed Non-Stop star Hawkins would take on the role.
As previously reported, Mitchell and Ice Cube's son Jackson, Jr. will portray the late Eazy-E and Ice Cube, respectively. F. Gary Gray will direct the film about the Compton, California rappers Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, the late Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella's rise to fame in the late 1980s and their subsequent split in 1991.
The movie is scheduled to hit theatres in August, 2015.
Newcomers Marcus Callender and Jason Mitchell have reportedly been cast to play Dr. Dre and Eazy-E in the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. The project has been in the works for several years, but director F. Gary Gray is now ready to move forward with the film and has cast Callender and Mitchell to round out the lead roles, according to Billboard.com.
Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson, Jr. has reportedly been tapped to play a younger version of his father in the film, which is scheduled to begin principal photography in August (14).
Straight Outta Compton tells the story of Compton, California rappers Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, the late Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella's rise to fame in the late 1980s and their subsequent split in 1991.
Few filmmakers come out of the gate swinging with an epic two-hour feature film debut that goes on to achieve huge box office success. Most of them start small with commercials, shorts, and low-budget indie flicks. And some of the most renowned filmmakers started out creating visuals for the music world, eventually working their way up to narrative features. Here are just a few movie directors who have also made great contributions to the world of music video.
This year he took home his first Oscar for Her, winning the award Best Original Screenplay. But back in the '90s he brought us the video to one of the most infectiously delightful songs ever, Fatboy Slim's "Praise You." As you can see, his sense of whimsy hasn't changed over the years.
Even if Belly wasn't the greatest cinematic achievement of all time (although, if you were a huge DMX fan back in the day, it probably was), it was exciting to see hip-hop video director extraordinaire Hype Williams create a feature film. Did it play a lot like a really long rap video at times? Yes. But that unforgettable scene with DMX watching Gummo was so amazing, it really didn't matter. Hype's love for cinema can also be seen in his "California Love" video for Tupac and Dr. Dre, which was partly inspired by Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. F. Gary Gray and Antoine Fuqua are two other acclaimed directors known for making waves on the hip hop music video scene.
Michael D. Ratner
This is a name you'll want to commit to memory. Ratner's work with New York's Hot 97, the leading voice in hip-hop radio, has resulted in some brilliant, satirical videos that went viral over the last couple of years. This year he and his crew at One Big Ball pictures (gotta love that name) made their Tribeca Film Festival debut with Ratner's hilarious short film The 30 Year Old Bris. Although he's continuing his work in music (he produced the upcoming Diddy/Meek Mill video for "I Want The Love"), Ratner also has more romantic comedies in the works. We suspect that good things are bound to come from a fella who's been hanging out with everyone from Spike Lee to 50 Cent and the great Jim Jones.
The director of Scarlett Johansson's most recent feature Under the Skin is also known for having made some powerful music videos in the '90s and early '00s. He worked with artists like Jamiroquai and Massive Attack before making his directorial debut with Sexy Beast (for which Ben Kingsley received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role). One of Glazer's most compelling works was the "Karma Police" video for Radiohead. Although he himself was critical of the finished product, it earned him the MTV Director of the Year award in 1997.
Fincher may be the best example of a director whose talent in music videos translated into brilliance in feature films. He went from being the director of many iconic and acclaimed videos (Paula Abdul's "Straight Up," Michael Jackson's "Who Is It," Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie") to being the Oscar-nominated director behind Fight Club, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, House of Cards, and the upcoming Gone Girl.
Best known for films like Love & Basketball and The Secret Life of Bees, Prince-Bythewood has a good collection of throwback R&B and hip-hop videos under her belt as well. This year she's returning to the big screen with the highly-anticipated Blackbird, starring Minnie Driver, Danny Glover, and Nate Parker, but it's fun to look back at her days with Fat Joe and Tony Sunshine.
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Executive produced and directed the short-lived FOX drama, "Ryan Caulfield: Year One"
Directed the crime drama, "Italian Job," starring Charlize Theron, Edward Norton and Mark Wahlberg
Worked with cable access programs while in high school
Made feature film directorial debut with "Friday"
Worked as cameraman for programs produced for Black Entertainment Television (BET) and the FOX network
Directed Vin Diesel in the film, "A Man Apart"
Helmed third feature, "The Negotiator," starring Kevin Spacey and Samuel L. Jackson
Directed more than 30 music videos for arts such as Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, Dr. Dre and Mary J. Blige; won several awards for his video work
Directed Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler in the thriller, "Law Abiding Citizen"
Scored critical and box office success with "Set It Off"
Helmed the "Get Shorty" sequel starring John Travolta and Uma Thurman, "Be Cool"
Moved back to Los Angeles after high school
Having established himself as a talented music video director, F. Gary Gray was bound to make a successful transition to feature films. Gray made good on his creative promise when he directed the surprising hit comedy, "Friday" (1995), which earned ten times its small budget at the box office and generated two popular sequels. He continued to showcase his gifts with his sophomore effort, "Set It Off" (1996), which was a big earner at the box office. Gray made his first foray into big budget Hollywood filmmaking with the critically acclaimed thriller, "The Negotiator" (1998). Following a failed attempt at launching a regular television series, he found his biggest success to date with "The Italian Job" (2003), a gripping remake of the 1969 film which was a hit with both critics and audiences. Though he continued to helm music videos, most notably for Cypress Hill and Jay-Z, Gray kept his feet firmly planted in the feature world with the tense thriller "Law Abiding Citizen" (2009), which not only affirmed his skill at crafting compelling crowd-pleasers, but also kept him at the top of the Hollywood food chain as one of the industry's more reliable and gifted directors.
"With videos, it's predominantly a visual medium. You go for the best shot, and look for the most creative visual trick you can surprise the audience with. With movies, it's pretty much coming up with the best story you can tell. You have to have an eye for when it is appropriate to do the fancy shot, or when it's appropriate to really focus on what's good for the story." - F. Gary Gray quoted in The Biz, November 1996
"I don't really frequent Hollywood things or get too deep into it. I'm pretty new relative to a lot of people who've been in the business, obviously. It feels good to be able to play. It's very, very hard work, but at the same time it's play, it's like playing Legos. You get a certain amount of Legos, and then you envision something, and then you try your best to make it happen, and make it work with the resources that you have. And I'm very fortunate to be in the position to do something that I love and get paid for it." - F. Gary Gray quoted in The Biz, November 1996