F. Gary Gray is in talks to direct Straight Outta Compton, the N.W.A biopic set up at New Line.
Gray beat out contenders John Singleton, George Tillman and Elgin James for the gig.
Andrea Berloff wrote the script for the project, which details the rise and fall of the Compton, Calif.-based group, whose initials stood for N—–z With Attitude. The members included drug dealer-turned-label founder Eazy-E, young DJ Dr. Dre and the politically active Ice Cube, plus MC Ren and DJ Yella. Another member, Arabian Prince, left N.W.A before the group released the groundbreaking debut album Straight Outta Compton in 1988.
N.W.A fell victim to the familiar trappings of success, with egos and jealousies surfacing, and the group frittered away. Eazy-E’s 1995 death of AIDS-related causes set the ex-members on a conciliatory path.
Cube and Matt Alvarez are producing the movie via Cube Vision. Eazy-E’s widow, Tomica Woods, who inherited his share of the song rights, also is producing.
Gray was one of the three directors in contention to direct the Captain America sequel, and this move likely takes him out of the running for that job. (George Nolfi and the Russo Brothers are the front-runners still left standing.)
Gray, repped by UTA and Principato Young, most recently directed 2009’s Law-Abiding Citizen. He directed Friday, starring Ice Cube, and Set It Off for New Line in the mid-’90s.
E-mail: Borys.Kit@thr.com; Twitter: @borys_kit