A film based on the rise of seminal West Coast rap group N.W.A. has been in development for quite a few years now, but a recent flurry of casting announcements indicates that the project — titled Straight Outta Compton, after the group’s early breakthrough album — may well be on its way to production.
Billboard reports that a pair of relatively unknown actors have been cast in the roles of Dr. Dre and the now-deceased Eazy E. Theater actor Marcus Callendar, who has appeared in HBO’s Criminal Justice, will play Dre, while the role of Eazy E will be played by actor Jason Mitchell, who appeared in Contraband and Broken City. Mitchell apparently won the part of the late rapper with an impressive screen test that pushed him ahead of a long list of hopefuls.
Callendar and Mitchell will be joined in the cast by Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson, Jr., who will play a teenage version of his father.
According to the report, all casting choices and other aspects of the film have been vetted through Ice Cube, Dre, and Eazy E’s widow, Tomica Wright.
Filmmaker F. Gary Gray, who directed Ice Cube in the 1995 comedy Friday, is expected to begin shooting the film in the next few months, with plans for a 2015 premiere.