Former Manager Sues Over Straight Outta Compton
One of the surprise hits of this past summer was F. Gary Gray‘s biopic tale on the rise of N.W.A. in Straight Outta Compton. The film has grossed nearly $200 million worldwide including $161 million in the US. While overall critics and audiences applauded the film, there were some who felt the true history of the four men from south central L.A. was glamorized and edited to their benefit. Now the band’s former manager, Jerry Heller, has taken exception to the film.
Specifically, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Heller feels the depiction of himself in the film was so inaccurate that it went to the legal threshold of defamation. He has filed a lawsuit seeking damages for defamation of character and copyright infringement.
In the film, Heller was played by Paul Giamatti and was shown on more than one occasion to be taking advantage of his young stars. Ultimately, according to the film, he was fired by Easy E which is among the claims that Heller disputes. Furthermore, he asserts that he worked collaboratively with band members on four screenplays about the rise of the hip-hop pioneers. He was not compensated or credited for the story or screenplay used in Straight Outta Compton. Heller’s lawsuit complains that the final screenplay used for the film is clearly drawn directly from his work.
Heller and his attorney, Mark Shapiro, will attempt to use the film’s commercial success against the defendants. “The insidiousness of Defendant’s behavior is underscored by the fact that the Film may become the largest globally grossing music-story based film ever,” states the complaint. “The larger the success of the film, the greater the damages to Plaintiff.”