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John Singleton, Peter Berg in mix to direct N.W.A. biopic

September 22, 2011 |  8:01 am

N.W.A. in 1989

Though the pop, jazz and rock worlds have lavished biopics on their artists since "The Benny Goodman" story, rap has only a few to its name. Most notably, 2009's "Notorious" depicted the life of Christopher Wallace on the silver screen, with notoriously mixed results. But it grossed nearly $37 million on a $20-million budget so it was only a matter of time before someone else attempted to adapt the life of another figure of hip-hop lore, N.W.A.

Scarcely anyone created a bigger myth than the banner-breaking, Baretta-bearing Compton nihilists who turned gangsta rap into big business and established the template of hard-core West Coast gangsta rap for 20 years. But like all things Hollywood, things rarely get anywhere near the green light until a director is attached -- something that may change with the news that John Singleton, director of "Boyz in the Hood," has been circling the project.

“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,” Singleton told IndieWire's Playlist. “The script is really, really good, and so we’re just figuring it out. New Line really wants to make it.”

Singleton, however, isn't the only director being considered. New York magazine, quoting insiders, suggests three other directors that New Line is vetting: Craig Brewer, best known for directing "Hustle and Flow"; "Friday" director F. Gary Gray; and "Friday Night Lights" director Peter Berg.

Ice Cube and Eazy-E's widow, Tomica Wright, are listed as producers along with David Engel and Bill Strauss. We'll keep you posted with any updates.


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Photo: Shown in 1989, the N.W.A. included, standing from left, Yella, Dr. Dre, MC Ren and, in front, Eazy-E. Credit: Los Angeles Times