With filming for the Ice Cube and Dr. Dre-produced biopic Straight Outta Compton set to begin this summer, the film’s director, F. Gary Gray is currently in the process of casting actors to play the members of the iconic group.
During the casting process, Rolling Stone caught up with Gray to discuss the qualities he’s looking for in the actors who will later go on to play one of the five members of N.W.A. The director revealed that he’s looking for an authenticity that not all actors have.
“Well it’s just a certain thing that a person from the hood has,” Gray said. “There are times where a thespian can get there and give it to you, sometimes they can’t, and street credibility it’s just that thing. When you watch ‘American Idol’ and they have that ‘It Factor’ – there’s a ‘Hood Factor.’ You get the authenticity when you’re in an environment like this, and you have an open call, and I’ve been seeing that, and I’m pretty happy with it.”
Gray later spoke on the shift in culture and music that will be featured in Straight Outta Compton due to the time in which the group was active.
“It’s not unlike Social Network or American Graffiti where you take a place and time in America, especially as it relates to popular culture, and you see the shift, and they were right there and created part of the pivot that America took in entertainment,” he said. “We went from Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince to hip-hop, and this is the time that marks that shift and that era.”
Among the cities casting for Straight Outta Compton took place in was South Los Angeles. NPR affiliate KCRW was present during the Los Angeles casting to interview hopefuls about the Compton group and the film. An audio clip from KCRW’s casting visit can be found below.
This month’s casting comes weeks after Ice Cube revealed that he wants his son, O’Shea to play him in Straight Outta Compton.
“Yes. I’ve been trying to get that pushed along,” Ice Cube said during an interview with The Guardian. “Just wanna make sure that he’s the best man for the job.”
There’s no word yet on if Ice Cube’s son will in fact play the rapper in the film.