'World Trade Center' writer joins N.W.A. film
THR EXCLUSIVEAndrea Berloff, who wrote Oliver Stone's true-life movie "World Trade Center," is tackling the story of seminal rap group N.W.A.
Berloff is writing "Straight Outta Compton," the story of the rise and fall of the Compton, Calif.-based group, whose initials read Niggas With Attitude. The members included drug dealer turned label founder Eazy-E, young disc jockey Dr. Dre and the politically bent Ice Cube, plus MC Ren and DJ Yella.
Another member, Arabian Prince, left N.W.A. before the group released the ground-breaking "Straight Outta Compton" album in 1988. The album, which featured the title track as well as "Fuck tha Police," introduced gangsta rap to the world and triggered sales of 9 million units.
As the group rose, however, egos and jealousies surfaced.
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.
Eazy-E's death, from AIDS-related causes, set the ex-members on a reconciliatory path. Cube has gone on to a successful career as an actor and producer, and Dre has become a top music producer.
Cube and Matt Alvarez are producing via Cube Vision. Eazy-E's widow, Tomica Woods, who inherited his share of the song rights, also is producing. Michelle Weiss and Dave Neustadter are overseeing for New Line.
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 scribe, repped by UTA and Benderspink, is known around town for tackling true-life stories. On top of "World Trade Center," she wrote "The Fugees," adapting 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.