Ol’ Dirty Bastard will soon be the focus of a new biopic from Sony’s Columbia Pictures. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the late rapper’s cousin and fellow Wu-Tang Clan member RZA is already onboard to produce, and the search for a director is in motion.
A founding member of Wu-Tang, ODB was an instrumental part of the group’s numerous albums, including the seminal 1993 debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). He also launched his own solo career, releasing full-lengths such as 2009’s Message to the Other Side, Osirus Part 1.
Like his discography, ODB’s rap sheet was similarly extensive. The rapper born Russell Tyrone Jones was arrested multiple times (shoplifting, criminal threatening, drug possession, etc.), convicted of second degree assault for an attempted robbery, and also served time behind bars. ODB died in November 2004 from an accidental drug overdose.
RZA has long been attached to various ODB film projects that ultimately were never released. In 2016, he was involved with a biopic featuring a script penned by his and ODB’s first cousin. Although it didn’t see the light of day, at that time RZA spoke to Rolling Stone about Hollywood’s interest in hip-hop-centric films in the wake of the success of Straight Outta Compton:
“Straight Outta Compton showed that hip-hop is a marketplace in cinema,” says the producer. “I always believed that the art we was creating was audio-visual, and it was headed towards visual-audio. And that’s why you see me in this world — my own heart drove me here — and I’m glad that a movie like that breaks out and does such numbers that it’s almost undeniable. It showed that with the proper team and marketing, many of us out here who grew up on this music would love to see the inside makings of those stories.”
While still releasing music, RZA has also made plenty of headway in the film world, co-directing 2012’s The Man with the Iron Fists alongside Eli Roth.