A feature film about the rise and fall of gangsta rap group Ni**as With Attitude (N.W.A.) is in development from the production company owned by one of its original members, Ice Cube.
Cube Vision, which the rapper/actor runs with Matt Alvarez, are producing along with Tomica Woods, the widow of N.W.A. founder Eazy-E. Woods inherited rights to all of the group’s songs.
Michelle Weiss and Dave Neustadter are overseeing for New Line, while Andrea Berloff, who wrote Oliver Stone’s true-life movie “World Trade Center,” has just been hired to write the screenplay.
N.W.A.’s other members included Dr. Dre, MC Ren and DJ Yella. Another member, Arabian Prince, left the group before it released the ground-breaking “Straight Outta Compton” album in 1988.
The CD, which featured the title track as well as “F*** tha Police,” brought gangsta rap into the mainstream and triggered sales of 9 million units. But fame eventually caused problems within the group.
Cube left in 1990 over royalty disputes, went solo and warred with the group via songs. All grappled with violence, charges of anti-Semitism, misogyny and homophobia, and even more infighting, this time between Eazy-E and Dr. Dre. But, Eazy-E’s death, from AIDS-related causes, set the ex-members on a reconciliatory path.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that having a white writer on black-themed projects, especially biopics, is a fairly recent trend. Sheldon Turner penned a draft of the Rick James project “Super Freak,” while Brad Kane wrote the draft of the Richard Pryor project that attracted director Bill Condon.
Especially noteworthy is that the person tackling the N.W.A. adaptation is a white woman.
However, the writer has made a name for herself in Hollywood by tackling true-life stories. On top of “World Trade Center,” she wrote “The Fugees,” an adaptation of a New York Times article for Universal, about a group of international refugee soccer kids who settle in Atlanta.
She also is working on an adaptation of Mark Bowden’s book “Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America’s War With Militant Islam,” about the Iran hostage crisis of 1979, for HBO and producer Bill Horberg.