Following the massive success of Universal Pictures' Straight Outta Compton, the studio is reportedly considering yet another hip-hop biopic. The movie will follow the formation of Def Jam Recordings, with Michael B. Jordan and Jonah Hill reportedly being eyed to play Def Jam co-founders Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin. No deals are in place at this time for the Def Jam/Russell Simmons Biopic, but as Deadline reports, the success of Straight Outta Compton, Fox's smash hit TV show Empire and the Broadway hit Hamilton, prove that fans are embracing hip-hop stories.
If the biopic moves forward, it will be adapted from the 2002 book Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money, + God, co-written by Russell Simmons and Nelson George, which follows Russell Simmons' early career and the formation of Def Jam, a legendary hip hop label that defined rap in the 80s. Sources claim the plot will follow how "hip hop grew from an underground sensation into a dominant and pivotal voice of culture and change." The project doesn't have a writer, director or producers attached at this time, since it is still in very early stages of development.
Russell Simmons's career started when he became Kurtis Blow's manager in the early 1980s, but he also helped his brother, Joseph Simmons, a.k.a. Rev Run of Run-D.M.C., get his revolutionary rap group off the ground. In 1984, Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin launched Def Jam Recordings out of Rick Rubin's NYU dorm room. The label launched the careers of some of the most successful rappers in music history, such as LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, EPMD, Warren G., Nate Dogg and Jay-Z.
It isn't known if Michael B. Jordan and Jonah Hill will even be interested in taking on these iconic roles, but both of them surely have busy schedules. Michael B. Jordan will next be seen in the Rocky spinoff Creed, which just released a new trailer this week, and he is also attached to star in Men Who Kill and Pretenders. Jonah Hill is currently filming Arms & the Dudes and he will next be seen in Hail Caesar, Sausage Party and The Adventurer's Handbook.
You may recall that a report surfaced last month which revealed Straight Outta Compton 2 may focus on Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur and other rappers from Death Row Records. Universal Pictures revealed they aren't involved in the sequel, but rapper Daz Dillinger, who is shepherding the project, said the story would pick up where the original biopic left off, following the careers of Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur, Warren G., Kurupt and himself. The project's title is reportedly Dogg Pound 4 Life, with the story following these rappers' rise to the top along with how gang violence impacted the music industry. Would you rather see a biopic based on these West Coast rappers from the 1990s, or the Def Jam crew from the 1980s?