After a long bout with cancer, the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch died on Friday (May 4). The rapper’s death comes as a huge blow to fans of his work with the iconic trio, but he’ll also be remembered for the imprint he left on the film world.
While he’s widely known as a co-founder of the Brooklyn hip-hop group, MCA was an accomplished director and producer, and his music is featured on an array of popular music soundtracks. The Hollywood community took to Twitter this afternoon to share their thoughts, with Ben Stiller tweeting, “So sad that Adam Yauch is gone. A truly great musician & filmmaker. He stood for integrity as an artist. What a loss. He was a very good man.” While Jonah Hill followed up with a heartfelt tweet: “I’m filled with so much sorrow to hear about the world losing Adam Yauch. He was such a beautiful person and artist. My heart is broken.”
As fans mourn the loss, MTV News honors his career and achievements on the big screen.
“Fight for Your Right Revisited”
The comedic short was Yauch’s most recent writing and direction project and it debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. With as ensemble cast that includes Elijah Wood, Danny McBride, Seth Rogen, Susan Sarandon, Will Arnett and Stanley Tucci, the story picks up from the raging party at the close of the trio’s 1987 “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)” music video. The sequel follows the Beastie Boys and their delinquent antics as they break into a bodega to steal beer and try to out-breakdance their future selves.
“Awesome: I F—in’ Shot That!”
Yauch produced and directed this memorable Beasties documentary, using footage shot by 50 fans at their 2004 Madison Square Garden concert. Audience members were given video cameras and asked to shoot the whole show. The project was meant to re-create for viewers at the home the exhilarating fan-experience of attending a sold-out show. Interestingly enough, MCA’s producer credit for the project is under the name of Nathaniel Hornblower, Yauch’s “Swiss uncle” and alter ego.
In 2008, Yauch made his directorial debut with “Gunnin’ for That #1 Spot,” a doc about street basketball. The film follows eight of 24 high-school basketball players competing in the Boost Mobile Elite 24 Hoops Classic at Harlem, New York’s famed Rucker Park. Of the eight players Yauch chose, six now have careers in the NBA, proving his eye for talent.
“Gunnin’ ” also marked one of his production company’s first efforts. Oscilloscope Laboratories has gone on to distribute a number of well-known works, including “Howl,” the Allen Ginsberg biopic starring James Franco, and the Oscar-nominated thriller “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” starring Tilda Swinton. The company recently announced that they had acquired the rights to the documentary “The Apple Pushers,” which tells the stories of immigrant street vendors who sell fruits and vegetables in poor New York City neighborhoods. The film is narrated by Edward Norton.
MCA’s music with the Beastie Boys has been featured on countless movie soundtracks, including “Baby Mama,” “17 Again,” J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek,” “Shrek Forever After,” “Iron Man 2,” “Horrible Bosses” and the Hugh Jackman robotic-action flick “Real Steel.” They also had hit songs featured in the video games “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock” (“Sabotage”) and “Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground” (“Electric Worm”).
Share your condolences for MCA’s family, friends and fans in the comments below.
Tune in to MTV tonight at 8 p.m. for “Adam Yauch: Remembering a Beastie Boy,” an hour-long special hosted by Sway celebrating the life and career of Adam “MCA” Yauch, including his biggest moments and remembrances from his friends and peers. Check out mtvU now for classic Beastie Boys music videos.