[Editor's Note: This cover story recently ran in our sister paper, LA Weekly.]
Back in September, on the set of the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton, cameras rolled in the parking lot of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium as actors playing prudish protesters hoisted signs ("Crap Rap N.W.A") and ran over a pile of the group's records with a steamroller. A little later, a group of young extras -- many of whom weren't yet born when Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E were challenging the status quo with N.W.A's politically charged, invective-filled rhymes -- formed a line outside the auditorium, preparing to shoot a concert scene. An old-school tour bus and retro TV news van helped establish the late-'80s ambiance, and the extras sported their favorite throwback haircuts and wore the thick, gold-plated "dookie rope" chains that were popular back in the day.
Dr. Dre was holed up in his plush trailer, and another producer, Tomica Woods-Wright (Eazy-E's widow), was barely seen on set at all. But there were good celebrity-spotting opportunities nonetheless. Director F. Gary Gray walked by reading some notes -- he'd collaborated with Cube on Friday -- and then came Cube himself, a producer as well, ambling by in dark shades. Preparing for a scene nearby was Cube's look-alike son, O'Shea Jackson Jr., who plays his dad in the movie. (Junior was in good spirits but declined a reporter's request to snap his photo "while I'm wearing the Jheri curl wig.")More »