Crafting the perfect Hollywood biopic is often very tricky business. More often than not, you are dealing with the legacy of a star who passed away too soon, the emotional impact a big-screen adaptation might have on the subject’s family, as well as casting the perfect actor to bring an iconic individual to life.
The filmmakers behind the Ol’ Dirty Bastard biopic “Dirty White Boy” are off to a very positive start with their film in that they have enlisted celebrated and very capable actor Michael K. Williams to tackle the title role. MTV News recently caught up with Williams, most well-known for his roles as Chalky White on “Boardwalk Empire” and the haunting, shotgun-toting Omar Little on “The Wire,” and Williams had a lot to say about the research and groundwork he’s putting into his preparation for the role of the Wu Tang Clan lyricist (born Russell Tyrone Jones).
“I am doing a lot of research on Russell,” Williams said recently on the set of the upcoming short film “They Die by Dawn.” “I had the pleasure of meeting his beautiful mother, Ms. Cherry. We sat down for, like, three hours, and she told me the most amazing stuff about her son and a lot of things that the public didn’t know. I’ve been talking to people who know him well … people who knew him when the cameras weren’t rolling,” Williams said. “I’ve got a lot of insight into who he was as a human being and as a man and, dare I say it, scholar. The dude was quite smart. You have to be able to recite mathematics and be 5 percent of god body — you can’t play with that. You have to know what you’re talking about. It’s a lot of studying, a lot of knowledge.”
Williams went on to say that the film will be mostly a straight drama, but will also include plenty of ODB’s more colorful personality quirks.
“It’s drama, but if you know ODB, there’s going to be some comedy, but we’re not playing to that. It’s going to be shot as a straight piece, no buffoonery, for lack of a better word,” Williams said. “It’s only going to cover the last two years of his life when he was released from prison to the day he died. It’s just an insight into what he struggled with in the public eye.”
“Dirty White Boy” is being produced by Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy (“Beginners”) and the screenplay is by Brent Hoff. The story will reportedly focus on the strange personal and professional relationship between the Staten Island rapper and Jarred Weisfeld, a 22-year-old VH1 production assistant who eventually became ODB’s manager in the early 2000s.
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