Ice Cube and Straight Outta Compton look to invade movie theaters this weekend. The film has already racked up many positive reviews. Ice Cube helped train his son to take on the role of himself in the story of N.W.A.’s rise to fame, and the result was extraordinarily well done.
Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson, Jr., managed to paint an explicitly real portrayal of his father in Straight Outta Compton. Before taking the role, he never acted. But he managed to channel his father, and worked on his acting chops for two years before filming began. Director F. Gary Gray was eventually convinced enough by Jackson’s lifelike similarities to his father to give him the role.
Ice Cube told the Chicago Tribune how he prepared his son to get the role.
“I mean, it was in my heart — I knew that I wanted him to do it. But to tell that to Gary? I was a little reserved because Gary is a real filmmaker and I thought once I said, ‘Let’s try out O’Shea for Ice Cube,’ he would … be like, ‘Man! Come on, are we making a real movie or not? Or are we just going to hire our friends and people we know?’
I knew he would come like that, so I told Shea, ‘Dude, you have to be ready. Whenever you get in front of Gary, you have to convince him.’ Because Gary is thinking ‘No!’ before ‘Yeah.’ “
In the Chicago Tribune interview, Jackson also revealed how intensely Ice Cube guided his performance throughout the process.
“He would call me before every scene to let me know what he was really thinking during that time in his life, even if it had nothing to do with the scene, just so I could use that to translate onto the screen. He was hands-on with me every day.”
Ice Cube’s son was the only N.W.A. progeny featured in the film. This is no doubt a result of the type of strong bond Ice Cube shares with his son. If Straight Outta Compton ever splits into an Ice Cube solo film biopic, Jackson should be first choice.
Ice Cube’s son is a rapper in his own right, going by the name OMG and appearing on a few songs with his father and as a solo artist. Ice Cube, OMG, and Ice Cube’s other rapping son, Doughboy, appeared with the legendary Rev. Run, of Run DMC fame, and his two sons on a freestyle for the BET Hip Hop Awards. The fathers and sons rap session showcased the talent that passes through to future generations of hip hop legends.
[Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images]