LOS ANGELES (AP) — The director of “Straight Outta Compton” says he’s “very happy with the accuracy” of the movie that depicts the creation and eventual breakup of influential rap group N.W.A.
This photo provided by Universal Pictures shows, Aldis Hodge, from left, as MC Ren, Neil Brown, Jr. as DJ Yella, Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, OShea Jackson, Jr. as Ice Cube and Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, in the film, Straight Outta Compton.” The movie releases in U.S. theaters on Aug. 14, 2015. (Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Pictures via AP)
Gary Gray says he relied on accounts from surviving members of the Southern California group, including credited producers Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, for key details and scenes in the film, due in theatres Friday. But he acknowledged in an interview at the movie’s premiere Monday night in Los Angeles that notable moments from N.W.A.’s history aren’t in the movie.
“Obviously you can only do so much when you have two hours and 10 years and five guys in one movie but I’m very happy with the accuracy especially given that I got it from the members of N.W.A,” Gray said. “If it was something that I just Googled or got it from Wikipedia then it would maybe be a little bit questionable. But Ice Cube was there every day. Dr. Dre was there every day. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Early reviews have been largely positive. But “Compton” has faced criticism online for failing to directly address the group’s sometimes-misogynist lyrics and Dr. Dre’s 1991 attack on journalist Dee Barnes at a Hollywood nightclub. Gray said he was aware of the incident
This photo provided by Universal Pictures shows, Neil Brown, Jr., from left, as DJ Yella, Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, OShea Jackson Jr. as Ice Cube, Aldis Hodge as MC Ren, and Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, with police in a scene from the film, Straight Outta Compton.” The movie releases in U.S. theaters on Aug. 14, 2015. (Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Pictures via AP)
and the publicity it generated, but “this movie is about N.W.A.”
“It’s about the group, the rise of the group and the subsequent following of the group and you can make five N.W.A. movies with all the information that is out there,” he said. “The first cut came in three hours and 30 minutes long. So we cut over an hour out of the movie so it was hard to cast the movie and it was hard to cut the movie. We couldn’t get everything in.”
This photo provided by Universal Pictures shows, Corey Hawkins, from left, as Dr. Dre, OShea Jackson, Jr. as Ice Cube, and Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, in a scene from the film, Straight Outta Compton.” The movie releases in U.S. theaters on Aug. 14, 2015. (Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Pictures via AP)
Rapper MC Ren, who along with DJ Yella is credited as an “N.W.A. consultant” on the film, said he had no complaints about the film’s content.
“They could have put me more in the trailers you know but the movie is good. If E was here, he would like it so it’s cool,” he said, referring to Eazy-E, who died of complications from AIDS in 1995.
The film’s premiere Monday night coincided with renewed protests and conflict in Ferguson, Missouri over the police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. MC Ren said he stands behind the group’s incendiary 1988 song “(Expletive) tha Police,” which is featured in the film.
“It’s never going to change. …. As long as you have people that think they are better than other people and they still look at us as slaves, it ain’t going to change,” he said.