It has been announced that Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti will play the role of Jerry Heller, manager of the West Coast rap group N.W.A., in the biopic Straight Outta Compton, named after the group’s first album.
Heller was a controversial figure in the music industry. The co-founder of Ruthless Records, he is credited with helping N.W.A. achieve stardom; but he was also suspected of having a role in the disbandment of the group for mishandling funds.
Set in the mid 1980’s, the movie tells the story of five young men who became rap music pioneers when they transformed memories of growing up on the streets of gang-plagued Compton into shockingly candid music.
Other exciting casting choices include Iron Man 3’s Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre; Jason Mitchell (Broken City) as Eazy-E; and most interesting of all, O’Shea Jackson Jr., portraying his own father, Ice Cube.
F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job) is directing the picture.
Producing are original N.W.A. members Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, Ride Along producer Matt Alvarez, and Tomica Woods-Wright, the widow of Eazy-E, who is the current owner of Ruthless Records.
The writers who drafted the screenplay include Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center), Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge (The Legend of Dolemite), Alan Wenkus and Sheldon Turner, best known for penning X-Men: First Class.