NWA Biopic Moving Forward Amid Suge Knight's Murder Charge

Todd MacMillan/Universal Pictures
Clockwise from top left: Ice Cube, director F. Gary Gray, Dr. Dre, and stars Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell and O'Shea Jackson Jr.

A source close to 'Straight Outta Compton' says everything "status quo."

A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

As Suge Knight's murder charge plays out in the background (the former Death Row Records head pleaded not guilty on Feb. 3), Universal Pictures is moving forward as planned with its Aug. 14 release of N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton.

A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

As Suge Knight's murder charge plays out in the background (the former Death Row Records head pleaded not guilty on Feb. 3), Universal Pictures is moving forward as planned with its Aug. 14 release of N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton.

 

 

Knight was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident just a few miles from a Straight Outta Compton promotional shoot in Los Angeles. Universal declined to comment on the matter or even clarify what type of footage was being shot, but sources say that Paul Hunter, a premier commercial and music video director who has worked with Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez, was helming a commercial for the N.W.A biopic when the Death Row Records founder showed up on the Compton set uninvited and became involved in a verbal altercation with crew member Cle "Bone" Sloan. Set security told the rap mogul, who is portrayed in the film, to leave.

 

 

Given Knight's violent past, Universal immediately shut down the set to ensure the safety of the crew, sources add (it is unclear if N.W.A founders and Straight Outta Compton producers Dr. Dre and Ice Cube were on set at the time). But police say Knight drove his Ford F-150 Raptor to Tam's Burgers nearby and continued to spar with Sloan, eventually taking deliberate aim at the 51-year-old, who was acting as a consultant on the commercial. (Sloan, a former gang member and sometime actor whose credits include End of Watch and Training Day, often works as a Hollywood liaison on inner-city sets.) In the process, Knight struck both Sloan, who was hospitalized in stable condition, and 55-year-old Terry Carter, who died at the scene.

Meanwhile, a source close to the film insists that everything is "status quo."

"We like our release date," the source adds. "We don't want to change anything."

As for the status of the commercial itself, Universal has yet to resume production. But an insider says, "I would be shocked if it's scrapped. The expectation is that it will finish."

Chris Gardner contributed to this report.

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