Universal and director F. Gary Gray have found their MC Ren and DJ Yella, adding two more thesps who’ll portray core members of rising 1980s gangsta rap group N.W.A in biopic Straight Outta Compton. Turn‘s Aldis Hodge will play MC Ren aka Lorenzo Jerald Patterson, and The Walking Dead‘s Neil Brown Jr will play DJ Yella aka Antoine Carraby alongside O’Shea Jackson Jr, Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell as Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E.
Straight Outta Compton chronicles the meteoric rise and fall of the seminal group, which burst from the streets of Compton, CA, with aggressive beats and tales of hood life. O.G. N.W.A members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre are directly involved as producers, alongside Matt Alvarez and Tomica Woods-Wright. Will Packer and Gray are exec producing the August 14, 2015, release.
Cube, Dre, and Eazy-E are the pic’s lead characters, but the formative years of N.W.A saw a deep lineup of hip-hop talent joining the group. DJ Yella, a colleague of Dre’s from their early electro DJ days in the World Class Wreckin’ Cru, would become a co-producer on Eazy-E’s solo debut Eazy-Duz-It and co-produced all of N.W.A’s albums including its 1988 debut Straight Outta Compton. MC Ren joined the group in the same year and co-wrote the majority of the first album with Ice Cube.
Hodge most recently appeared in Fox Searchlight’s The East and has joined the cast of Amazon’s upcoming The After as a series regular. He has a recurring role on AMC’s Turn and is repped by Jason Priluck at Priluck Company and Paradigm. Brown is known for his role as Vatos leader Guillermo on AMC’s The Walking Dead and also appeared in Battle: Los Angeles, Fast & Furious and USA’s Suits. He’s repped by Pantheon and David Dean Management.