O’SHEA JACKSON, JR. (Ice Cube) makes his acting debut in Straight Outta Compton in the role of a lifetime, portraying his father, O’Shea Jackson, better known as Ice Cube.
However, the charismatic 23-year-old is no stranger to the stage, having performed while on tour with his father numerous times.
Jackson resides in Los Angeles and plans to continue his acting career.
COREY HAWKINS (Dr. Dre) was most recently seen on Broadway in the role of Tybalt in David Leveaux’s production of Romeo and Juliet, opposite Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad. His other recent stage credits include Signature Theatre’s off-Broadway production of Katori Hall’s Hurt Village, directed by Patricia McGregor, the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Suicide, Incorporated and New York Stage and Film’s production of Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story.
Hawkins’ film credits include Universal Pictures’ Non-Stop, opposite Liam Neeson, and Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3. His recent television credits include Golden Boy and Royal Pains.
A graduate of The Juilliard School’s drama program, Hawkins’ performance as Walter Lee Younger in Juilliard’s production of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun garnered him an invite to reprise the role in Los Angeles, opposite Rutina Wesley. Hawkins is a recipient of the John Houseman Prize, which is granted to one Juilliard student who has demonstrated exceptional ability in classical theater.
With a magnetic personality, JASON MITCHELL (Eazy-E) is a versatile newcomer who has steadily been building a reputation as an actor on the rise. A person of undeniable charisma, Mitchell prides himself on playing dynamic and complicated characters.
Mitchell made his acting debut in Texas Killing Fields, which starred Sam Worthington. His other motion-picture credits include Baltasar Kormákur’s Contraband , which starred Mark Wahlberg, and Allen Hughes’ Broken City, with Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
In addition to the N.W.A feature, Mitchell will star opposite Emile Hirsch, Zoë Kravitz and Zoey Deutch in the independent feature Vincent-N-Roxxy. He will also be seen in New Line’s upcoming stolen-cat comedy, Keanu, alongside Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele and Will Forte.
Born to military parents in Würzburg, Germany, Mitchell decided to be an actor in 2010 and enrolled in local acting classes. He currently resides in New Orleans, Louisiana, with his two daughters.
NEIL BROWN, JR. (DJ Yella) is an actor best known for his roles in Jonathan Liebesman’s Battle: Los Angeles and Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious. His other feature-film credits include Bad Blood, San Patricios, Scare Zone, Mr. 3000, Out of Time, Tigerland and the independent short Choices: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.
Brown, born and raised in the rough Richmond Heights neighborhood of Orlando, Florida, caught the acting bug after winning a role on the short-lived martial-arts television show WMAC Masters. His numerous television credits include roles on NCIS: Los Angeles, Suits, NCIS, Weeds, Castle, The Walking Dead, Harry’s Law, Army Wives, Fear Clinic, Surface, South Beach and MDs.
ALDIS HODGE (MC Ren) is best known for his role as Alec Hardison on TNT’s highly rated television series Leverage, which nabbed a People’s Choice Award in 2013. He starred in the Amazon pilot The After, from The X-Files creator Chris Carter, and currently has a recurring role on AMC’s TURN: Washington’s Spies. Next, Hodge will star in the Sony Pictures Television series Underground, for WGN America, opposite Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Christopher Meloni.
Hodge starred in the Fox Searchlight Pictures eco-terrorism thriller The East, which also starred Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Patricia Clarkson and Brit Marling. Directed by Zal Batmanglij, the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. Hodge also appeared in Twentieth Century Fox’s A Good Day to Die Hard, the most recent installment of the Die Hard franchise.
Hodge started his career at the age of three when he booked a print job for ESSENCE with his brother, Edwin (The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy, Red Dawn, TV’s Chicago Fire). Aldis Hodge continued to work as a model for print ads and commercials until he made the transition onto the screen when he and his brother were cast on Sesame Street. They later joined the cast of the Tony-winning revival of Show Boat on Broadway. During that period, he also appeared in several movies, including Die Hard With a Vengeance, Bed of Roses, The Stone House, Edmond, The Ladykillers and Big Momma’s House.
Hodge’s television roles include the critically acclaimed series Friday Night Lights, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Girlfriends, American Dreamz, City of Angels, Bones, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, ER, Cold Case, Charmed and Boston Public.
Hodge was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and raised in New York. In addition to acting, Hodge writes scripts for film and television, designs luxury timepieces and is an avid artist and painter.
He currently resides in Los Angeles.
With a diverse roster of finely etched, award-winning and critically acclaimed performances, PAUL GIAMATTI (Jerry Heller) has established himself as one of the most versatile actors of his generation.
Giamatti most recently starred in Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy and Sophie Barthes’ Madame Bovary, in which he played the ardent Monsieur Homais, among other films. Giamatti also lent his voice to the English-language version of the Oscar®-nominated French animated feature Ernest & Celestine, as well as the upcoming, highly anticipated feature-film adaptation of The Little Prince, directed by Mark Osborne. Giamatti can also be seen in the upcoming Showtime original drama series Billions, in which he plays the lead opposite Damian Lewis, and the independent feature drama The Phenom, written and directed by Noah Buschel.
In 2014, Giamatti received a Primetime Emmy nomination for his guest-starring role as Harold Levinson, the eccentric American brother of Elizabeth McGovern’s character Cora Crawley, on the highly acclaimed drama series Downton Abbey.
Prior to that, Giamatti executive produced and starred in Phil Morrison’s black comedy All Is Bright, alongside Paul Rudd. The film centers around two French Canadian Christmas-tree salesmen who devise a get-rich-quick scheme and travel to New York to sell trees. Giamatti was also seen in Steve McQueen’s Oscar®-winning drama 12 Years a Slave, John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr. Banks and Peter Landesman’s docudrama Parkland. He played Spider-Man’s formidable foe The Rhino in the latest entry of the blockbuster superhero franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, directed by Marc Webb. In 2013, Giamatti appeared in Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of the stage play Hamlet.
In 2012, Giamatti was seen in New Line Cinema’s adaptation of the Broadway stage musical Rock of Ages, directed by Adam Shankman. The film co-starred Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand and Julianne Hough. Giamatti also starred in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, alongside Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche.
In 2011, Giamatti starred in the critically praised Win Win, a film written and directed by Oscar® nominee Thomas McCarthy. Giamatti portrayed Mike Flaherty, a disheartened attorney moonlighting as a high-school wrestling coach who stumbles across a star athlete through some questionable business dealings. Giamatti was also seen in The Ides of March, which was directed by George Clooney and co-starred Ryan Gosling, Clooney and Evan Rachel Wood. The film received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture-Drama.
He also starred in Curtis Hanson’s HBO movie Too Big to Fail, in which he portrayed Ben Bernanke. opposite William Hurt and Billy Crudup. Giamatti’s performance earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries, as well as Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.
His performance in 2010’s Barney’s Version earned him a Golden Globe Award. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Mordecai Richler, the film was directed by Richard J. Lewis and co-starred Dustin Hoffman, Rosamund Pike and Minnie Driver. In 2008, Giamatti won Primetime Emmy, SAG and Golden Globe awards for Best Actor in a Miniseries for his portrayal of the title character in HBO’s seven-part Primetime Emmy Award-winning miniseries John Adams. Directed by Primetime Emmy-winning director Tom Hooper, Giamatti played President John Adams as part of a cast that also included award-winning actors Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, David Morse and Stephen Dillane. In 2006, Giamatti’s performance in Ron Howard’s Cinderella Man earned him his first SAG Award and a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actor, as well as Academy Award® and Golden Globe nominations in the same category.
For his role in Alexander Payne’s critically lauded Sideways, Giamatti earned accolades including Best Actor at the Independent Spirit Awards and New York Film Critics Circle Awards, as well as Golden Globe and a SAG award nominations.
In 2003, Giamatti received outstanding reviews and commendations (Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor, National Board of Review Breakthrough Performance of the Year) for his portrayal of Harvey Pekar in Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s American Splendor.
Giamatti first captured the eyes of America in Betty Thomas’ hit comedy Private Parts. His extensive list of film credits also includes Jonathan English’s Ironclad; Todd Phillips’ The Hangover Part II; The Last Station, opposite Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren; Tony Gilroy’s Duplicity; Sophie Barthes’ Cold Souls; David Dobkin’s Fred Claus; Shoot ’Em Up, opposite Clive Owen; Springer Berman and Pulcini’s The Nanny Diaries; M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water; Neil Burger’s The Illusionist; Milos Forman’s Man on the Moon; Julian Goldberger’s The Hawk is Dying; Tim Robbins’ Cradle Will Rock; F. Gary Gray’s The Negotiator; Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan; Peter Weir’s The Truman Show; Mike Newell’s Donnie Brasco; Todd Solondz’s Storytelling; Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes; Duets, opposite Gwyneth Paltrow; the animated film Robots; Big Momma’s House, which co-starred Martin Lawrence; James Foley’s Confidence; and John Woo’s Paycheck.
As an accomplished stage actor, Giamatti received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play as Jimmy Tomorrow in Howard Davies’ Broadway revival of The Iceman Cometh. His other Broadway credits include The Three Sisters, directed by Scott Elliott; Racing Demon,directed by Richard Eyre; and Arcadia, directed by Trevor Nunn. He was seen off-Broadway in the ensemble cast of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, with Al Pacino.
For television, Giamatti appeared in The Pentagon Papers, with James Spader; HBO’s Winchell,opposite Stanley Tucci; and Jane Anderson’s segment “1961” in If These Walls Could Talk 2, also for HBO.
He resides in Brooklyn, New York.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS F. GARY GRAY, p.g.a. (Directed by/Produced by) is recognized as one of the industry’s most prolific and versatile directors, known for consistently pushing the envelope, spotting new trends and talent, and delivering innovative and exciting entertainment to a diverse audience.
With his production company, Nucleus Entertainment, Inc., Gray recently produced the upcoming film The Sea of Trees for director Gus Van Sant, starring Academy Award® winner Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts. The drama, which had its premiere in competition at Cannes this year, follows the story of a suicidal American who befriends a Japanese man lost in a forest near Mount Fuji and together, the two search for a way out.
Gray’s other films include Law Abiding Citizen, which starred Gerard Butler and Academy Award® winner Jamie Foxx; Be Cool, based on Elmore Leonard’s best-selling novel which starred Academy Award® nominees John Travolta and Uma Thurman; The Italian Job, a visually arresting thriller with an all-star cast, including Academy Award® winner Charlize Theron and Academy Award® nominee Mark Wahlberg; A Man Apart, which starred Vin Diesel; The Negotiator, which starred Academy Award® winner Kevin Spacey and Academy Award® nominee Samuel L. Jackson; the award-winning heist picture Set It Off, with Jada Pinkett Smith and Academy Award®-nominee and Golden Globe winner Queen Latifah; and Friday, which launched the extremely popular Fridayfilm franchise, which starred rapper/producer Ice Cube and Chris Tucker.
Gray is also a leading member of his community and has been an active supporter of numerous organizations, including the Tom Bradley Youth & Family Center, My Friend’s House Foundation and Urban Compass, among others. He has received multiple commendations from the city of Los Angeles for his philanthropic work.
JONATHAN HERMAN’s (Screenplay by) first job in the entertainment industry was as a production assistant on Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights. After that, he was an assistant to producer Tom Sternberg during the development and production of Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Herman then served as director of development at StudioCanal Los Angeles before leaving the development world to focus on writing. He sold his first spec script, Conviction, to Warner Bros., for producer Joel Silver. Soon after, he sold another spec, Rites of Men, to Universal Pictures. Since then, Herman has worked on several feature-film projects at Universal, including a remake of The Birds and the tech-thriller Untitled Hacker Project as well as the psychological action-thriller The Demonologist for ImageMovers and a remake of the iconic Scarface.
ANDREA BERLOFF (Story by/Screenplay by) has two other movies that will be released during the coming year: Sleepless Night, currently in production from Open Road Films, stars Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan and is directed by Baran bo Odar and Blood Father, which was directed by Jean-François Richet and stars Mel Gibson. Previously, Berloff wrote World Trade Center, which was directed by Oliver Stone. She is currently writing a movie for Margot Robbie at Warner Bros.
S. LEIGH SAVIDGE (Co-Executive Producer/ Story by) founded Xenon Pictures, Inc., the first independent distribution company for black audience content in the U.S. home-entertainment marketplace. The company has a library of 160 titles and has financed and produced a number of documentaries, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Historical Perspective, the first documentary on Dr. King authorized and endorsed by the King Foundation; Eminem AKA; and Mahalia Jackson: The Power and the Glory, among others.
Welcome to Death Row, a documentary on Death Row Records, is Savidge’s most high-profile effort. Early interviews surrounding the project helped provide the basis for the initial drafts of Straight Outta Compton, which was conceived with Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff.
ALAN WENKUS (Co-Executive Producer/ Story by) was a screenwriter and programming executive with Premiere Network and Clear Channel when he began a series of interviews with former N.W.A manager Jerry Heller and Eazy-E’s widow, Tomica Woods-Wright, that soon developed into the first draft of the riveting story of Straight Outta Compton.
Wenkus is currently writing and producing a big-screen biopic of country-music legend George Jones with 28 Entertainment and the George Jones estate.
As much as technology, business and society have changed since the 1980s, one thing has remained constant: ICE CUBE, p.g.a. (Produced by) has been a premier cultural watchdog, astutely commenting on, examining and detailing the breadth of the American experience in uncompromising terms with an unflinching honesty and a sobering perspective, as well as a deft comedic touch that has endeared him to several generations of fans.
Indeed, growing up in crime-and gang-infested South Central Los Angeles in the 1970s and 1980s, Ice Cube learned how to navigate a world where the lines between right and wrong shifted constantly. Equally important, the Los Angeles-based entertainment mogul also found a lasting way to present the comedy that exists amid difficult situations.
After penning the most memorable lyrics on N.W.A’s groundbreaking songs “Straight Outta Compton” and “Fuck Tha Police,” Ice Cube left the group at the peak of its popularity because of a pay dispute. That move led to one of the most successful careers in music history. As a solo recording artist, Ice Cube has sold more than 10 million albums while remaining one of rap’s most respected and influential artists.
Beyond music, Ice Cube has established himself as one of entertainment’s most reliable, successful and prolific figures. In the film arena, he’s an accomplished producer/executive producer (Friday, Barbershop 2: Back in Business, Are We There Yet?), writer (Friday, The Players Club, Janky Promoters) and director (The Players Club) who is best known for his acting.
One of the most bankable actors in cinematic history, Ice Cube has starred in the acclaimed Friday, Barbershop and Are We There Yet? franchises, and has had star turns as a conflicted teen in Boyz n the Hood, a greedy soldier in Three Kings and an elite government agent in xXx: State of the Union. Ice Cube’s ability to bring a natural, everyman aesthetic to any film genre makes his characters compelling and memorable, whether he’s playing a confrontational career college student (Higher Learning) or a skeptical football coach (The Longshots).
As a television producer, he took the Barbershop and Are We There Yet? series to successful network runs and also enjoyed success with the controversial Black. White. series, among other programs.
In 2012, Ice Cube appeared in the blockbuster film 21 Jump Street and the independent drama Rampart. Among his film projects in development is another Friday film. He’s also a pitchman for Coors Light and has been featured in various commercials for the brand.
In January 2014, Cube found major success with the box-office hit Ride Along, which his company, CubeVision, produced. The film was No. 1 at the box office for three consecutive weekends and was the highest grossing movie in history over Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. It has a spectacular $153.3 million at the worldwide box-office.
Cube most recently starred in 22 Jump Street, the follow-up to the smash success of 21 Jump Street.
While Cube loves making movies, his first passion will always be music. His forthcoming album, “Everythang’s Corrupt,” will be his 18th release as either a solo artist or a member of a group (N.W.A, Da Lench Mob and Westside Connection) and is slated for release later this year.
On his new LP, Ice Cube highlights the evolution of the United States of America as a land where honesty, love and respect have been replaced by a meaningless, fruitless pursuit of material spoils.
“Everybody’s trying to come up with more than they really need and it’s driving people crazy,” he says of the mentality that inspired the piano-accented selection “One for the Money.” “If they can’t attain it, then they look for escape in another way, whether it’s drinking, drugs, dancing, having sex, whatever. Everybody’s trying to be somebody, which is cool. There’s nothing wrong with that. But you are somebody. You’re somebody before you’re trying to be somebody. I know a lot of famous dudes who aren’t good people. I know a lot of people that aren’t famous that are cool people who set a good example and do the right thing.”
But doing the right thing seems much more difficult for people whose sole purpose is to accumulate money and power. On the ominous song, “Everythang’s Corrupt,” he says how money is often the answer to questions about why things work the way they do. “You can never let the world puzzle you,” he explains. “All you’ve got to do is follow the money and you’ll see why things don’t get done or things get done. It’s a shame that the dollar has become more important and more precious than life itself to so many.”
As much of popular rap focuses on trite topics, Ice Cube’s music remains raw and uncompromising. It’s a stance he’s held since the mid-1980s when he broke through as a member of gangster rap pioneers N.W.A. On the funky “Can I Hit Some of That West Coast Shit?,” Ice Cube dares the new generation of artists to push the genre forward, something he’s been doing throughout his entire career. “It’s basically saying, ‘what you’re about to do, I’ve done it already,’” he reveals. “It’s like, ‘C’mon, man. Come new. And if you’re new, you’ll stand out.’”
To his point, Ice Cube has stood out throughout his remarkable career. His ability to adapt to new trends and styles and put his twist on them without losing his own identity puts him in an elite class of recording artists of any genre. With the bouncy “Sic Them Youngins on ’Em,” he showcases an undulating delivery that counters his typically stoic, commanding flow.
That type of artistic alchemy also allows Ice Cube to craft a song like “The Big Show,” in which he lets the world know that in the real world, he’s going to remain true to himself regardless of whom he’s interacting with. “I just be myself, man, and you’ve just got to take it or leave it, whether you’re the homie in the ’hood or Obama,” he says. “You’ve just got to take me how I am. Where I come from, it makes me real equipped to deal with everybody.”
As a multimedia juggernaut, Ice Cube has built a career that remains robust, if difficult to categorize. “It’s hard to define,” he says. “My brand, if I could put it in a nutshell, is that I believe that I’m a solid artist. I always go back to that word ‘solid.’ Solid like a Harley-Davidson is solid. I hope people trust that when I put my name on something, it’s not just garbage. I’m not just throwing it at you. I’m trying to give you an experience.”
And he’s excelled at that, time and time again.
TOMICA WOODS-WRIGHT (Produced by) is the president and CEO of Ruthless Records, an independently owned label whose history involves of gold and multi-platinum selling artists including, but not limited to, Eazy-E, N.W.A and Grammy Award-winning Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. In addition to her role at Ruthless records, she maintains several successful businesses in music publishing, brand management and companies outside of the entertainment business.
Igniting her career in 1989, the Los Angeles native was submerged in the business of music working for her mentor Clarence Avant. She began work in an entry-level position at Tabu Records and progressed to executive assistant to the chairman of the board at Motown Records by 1993. By virtue of this experience, she honed her business acumen and funneled her wisdom into Ruthless Records.
In 1995, Woods-Wright acquired Ruthless Records after the tragic loss of its founder and owner, Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, the pioneering hip-hop entrepreneur who introduced the genre of gangsta rap to the music landscape. During her tenure, Ruthless Records was named the National Association of Recording Merchandisers’ Independent Label of the Year and amassed record sales surpassing 45 million units collectively worldwide.
After nearly three decades, Woods-Wright has evolved as a curator of classic catalogues and continues to maintain, preserve, enhance and ultimately extend the legacy of her intellectual properties by utilizing existing and emerging technology as well as new distribution channels.