O’Shea Jackson Jr. and RJ Cyler have signed on to star in a pair of very different biopics, as they’re in line to play baseball pitcher Dock Ellis and 2 Live Crew singer Luther Campbell, respectively.
A colorful yet controversial character who spent a decade in the big leagues, Ellis pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. Making that athletic achievement even more impressive is the fact that Ellis pulled it off while high on LSD — a secret he revealed ten years later.
After admitting that he never pitched a game sober, Ellis sought treatment for his drug and alcohol addictions, and he paid it forward later in life by counseling other pro athletes struggling with their own substance abuse problems.
Written by Joey Poach, DOCK hails from producers David Permut, Jeff Kwatinetz and Ice Cube, who are currently searching for a director. The film will be a co-production between Permut Presentations, The Firm and Cube Vision.
Permut is coming off biopics of war hero Desmond Doss (Hacksaw Ridge) and musician Jan Lewan (The Polka King), while Ice Cube recently produced the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, in which he was portrayed by his own son, Jackson Jr. The up-and-coming actor next stars opposite Aubrey Plaza in Ingrid Goes West. He’s represented by WME, while Poach is repped by Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment.
Meanwhile, Cyler will play Campbell in THE BOOK OF LUKE, a drama written by Craig A. Williams (Vince McMahon biopic Pandemonium) about the provocative hip hop group 2 Live Crew, who fought a landmark legal battle over fair use sampling in the music business. The film will chronicle Campbell’s rise out of poverty in Miami all the way to becoming a rich and famous advocate for free speech.
Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen are producing for Temple Hill, whose John Fischer will oversee the project. Mike Epps and Industry Entertainment will serve as executive producers of the film, which is based on Campbell’s memoir Book of Luke: My Fight For Truth, Justice And Liberty City.
Cyler just played the Blue Ranger in Lionsgate’s Power Rangers, and he currently stars in Netflix’s War Machine and Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here. The rising star broke out as the title character in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and he’ll soon be seen in Studio 8’s White Boy Rick. He’s repped by JLA Talent and Landis Simon Management, while Williams is repped by UTA and Aperture.
According to Deadline, which broke both news items, Cyler’s parents met at a 2 Live Crew concert, so perhaps his casting was fate. Either way, it’s good to see Hollywood interested in these stories, as both Ellis and Campbell have led lives worthy of the big screen treatment.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief