Abuja - The NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton finally made it way onto cinema screens in Nigeria this week.
Actor and rapper Ice Cube who was a member of the group and also producer of the movie sat down for a quick Q&A about the movie, his son playing him and a possible NWA reunion.
This project has been a long time in the making. What do you think of it now that it’s done?
Ice Cube: I love it. We’ve been trying to put this together for five years, and I don't know if anyone could have done a better job than we did.
What was the most important message in the movie?
Ice Cube: It was important to me to inspire youngsters out there that have something to say but may be in a frustrating situation, and to motivate their creativity. You don't have to be destructive. You can be constructive. You can do music, art, poetry; anything you feel to fill that void and to have a voice. There are a few different things running through the movie – messages about standing up for yourself, freedom of speech, and the first amendment.
Was there any temptation at all, given this opportunity, to change your story, to re-write things a little?
Ice Cube: No, because what we went through is so vivid, it's so intricate and unusual. There was no reason to make anything up. The hardest part was deciding what to keep in and what to leave out. We were trying to squeeze ten years into two hours. There are nooks and crannies that you can't get in there. But we tried to fit everything we could in there so people could feel the story and the journey.
O’Shea Jr. said that he auditioned for two years. Even as your son, he was never just a shoe-in?
Ice Cube: No. I told him he’s gonna to have to work hard for it, he's gonna have to beat out people, and he's gonna have to be approved by not only Gary – who's a serious filmmaker – but the studio too, which was putting a lot of money behind this movie. He had to blow everybody away and I couldn't help him with that. He had to do the work, put in the hours, and become a great actor. In two years he had to turn it on.
What did you think of his performance?
Ice Cube: He knocked that shit out of the park, man. I'm watching it and I have to remind myself that it's not me, it's my son! He turned into Ice Cube for me, so the audience doesn't have a chance. He's got it.
Are you happy for him to follow in your footsteps?
Ice Cube: Hell yeah. I think I'm happier for him than anything about this movie. I'm proud on so many levels. I'm proud of him that he did a great job, and hopefully this will launch his career. And I'm proud as a producer - this is my finest movie.
How much did he already know of your story?
Ice Cube: My wife and I have talked about these stories his whole life, so he's heard versions of it. I think it was just about actually putting the dialogue in front of him. I think the hardest part was learning the technical things, like how a film set moves.
How was your experience collaborating with your former NWA colleagues, getting the crew back together again?
Ice Cube: We were reminiscing, talking about old times, not really believing that this was all happening, that what we went through is film-worthy. We’re all just good. The project has been a love fest, and to see that people enjoy the movie is just kind of our reward for all the work it took to get this movie on the screen, without being tainted by Hollywood. It was hard, but it was well worth it.
Any chance of an NWA reunion?
Ice Cube: You never know. We’ve been talking about it. I would love to get on the mic with Ren and Dre and do something.
Watch the trailer here:
(Photos: Universal Pictures)