First Look at N.W.A Biopic 'Straight Outta Compton'

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

Universal Pictures announced Wednesday that its N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton will be released on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015 — a slot originally reserved for the next Bourne film, which has been pushed to 2016.

Universal also confirmed the film's previously rumored cast and released a first-look photo featuring the new leads with the film's producers and director.

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After much lobbying from Ice Cube, the younger version of the rapper will be played by his 23-year-old son, O'Shea Jackson Jr. He officially joins Jason Mitchell, who insiders say landed the role of Eazy-E after an out-of-the-park screen test. The New Orleans-based actor has had small roles in Broken City and Contraband.

Rounding out the onscreen trio is Corey Hawkins, who was last seen in the Orlando Bloom-Condola Rashad production of Romeo and Juliet on Broadway, in which he played the "suitably hot-tempered and proud" Tybalt. He has also appeared in Non-Stop and Iron Man 3. (Dre originally wanted to be portrayed by Michael B. Jordan, who is about to take on a Fantastic Four reboot at Fox.)

Producers Cube, Dre and Eazy-E's widow Tomica Woods-Wright had to sign off on the actors who will play the core members of the seminal rap group, and also held script veto power.

The long-delayed project, set in mid-1980s Compton, chronicles how five young men translated their experiences growing up in the hood into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation, and revolutionized music and pop culture forever while igniting a cultural war.

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F. Gary Gray (Friday, Set It Off, The Italian Job) will direct the drama from a script overhaul by Jonathan Herman. Matt Alvarez will produce, with Will Packer serving as executive producer alongside Gray. The film previously had scripts by Alan Wenkus, S. Leigh Savidge and Andrea Berloff. Universal shot a sequence in spring 2013 in Los Angeles in order to qualify for California's film tax credit, which is set to expire.

Jackson Jr. is represented by Ziffren Brittenham, Hawkins is represented by ICM Partners and Mitchell is represented by Tosha Horne at Talent Connexion.

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee

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