Hollywood, like the book publishing industry, can't get enough music. Jeff Buckley, Keith Richards, Dennis Wilson, and N.W.A. are all getting the biopic treatment, and now Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard is the latest to draw big screen interest. The script for the film was penned by ODB's cousin Raeshawn (not to be confused with Raekwon, who also has a biopic in the works), and while it appears like the movie is nowhere near being greenlit, there's already a race between comedians Eddie Griffin and Tracy Morgan to portray the rapper.
"Eddie Griffin is down," Wu-Tang Clan's RZA told XXL. "Me and Eddie talked about it, laughed about it. Tracy Morgan, he wanna do it [too]. I said 'Ya'll both kinda can do it... [but] Eddie spent time with Dirty, they knew each other well." Griffin could easily imitate ODB's mannerisms, and Morgan's 30 Rock character Tracy Jordan is the closest thing primetime has to the rapper with his penchant for unpredictable behavior and spouting hilarious nonsense. Neither comedian, however, has the look of Ol' Dirty Bastard. Griffin is too short in stature, and Morgan would need to pull a Christian Bale in The Machinist to portray Dirt McGirt.
Griffin has the inside edge for the role, since he personally knew the rapper and has already signed a letter of intent to play ODB. (Getting cast in a movie is like enrolling in college these days.) Still, neither actor seems suited for the role, especially since both are significantly older now than ODB was when he died at the age of 35. Griffin is 43, Morgan is 42, and Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers was recorded when Bastard was 24.
The Amp is going to play "casting couch" for a minute and recommend a few actors that could fill the role. There's Don Cheadle, whose work speaks for itself. The second is J.B. Smoove, who plays Leon Black on Curb Your Enthusiasm. His demeanor and ability to hilariously chew the scenery would make him a perfect ODB, although he's 46. There's also Marlon Wayans, whose character in Don't Be a Menace to South Central... was essentially a caricature of ODB, who was a caricature himself. Wayons is a young-looking 39, and he proved he could genuinely act in Requiem for a Dream. Our dark horse pick: Donald Glover, the talented actor/rapper from Community.
In other Wu casting news, RZA, a longtime collaborator of Quentin Tarantino's, has been cast in the director's upcoming film Django Unchained. According to the Playlist, Bobby Digital will play the role of Thaddeus, a violent slave in QT's spaghetti western/Civil War revenge flick. RZA previously teamed with Tarantino for the Kill Bill soundtrack, but he also has some acting chops thanks to roles in American Gangster, Funny People, and Due Date. He (and GZA) also provided us with this gem:
We wonder why Raekwon wasn't cast in Django too... oh, never mind:
- Eddie Griffin
- Tracy Morgan