News: "The Wire" Star Gets Dirty, Lands Role As Wu-Tang's ODB

Friday, Mar 23, 2012 9:01AM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

"The Wire" and "Boardwalk Empire" star Michael K. Williams has reportedly been chosen to take on the role of late Wu-Tang Clan member Ol' Dirty Bastard in an upcoming film.

Details on the power move landed across the Internet Thursday (March 22) evening.

EW has learned exclusively that Williams, 45, will star in an upcoming film about the legendary Wu-Tang Clan rapper and all-around troubled soul Russell Jones, a.k.a. Ol' Dirty Bastard, whose impressive mic skills and outrageous showmanship were eclipsed by his erratic offstage behavior, assorted arrests, and an early death. JoaquĆ­n Baca-Asay, the cinematographer on We Own the Night, Roger Dodger and Jay-Z's video for 99 Problems, is also joining the project, making his feature directorial debut. The movie is based on the final years of ODB's life -- a true story that is nonetheless stranger than fiction. (Entertainment Weekly)

The film will heavily focus on ODB's resurgence into the hip-hop mainstream around the early 2000's.

Titled Dirty White Boy, the film focuses on the offbeat friendship between the Wu-Tang Clan co-founder and Jarred Weisfeld, a 22-year-old VH1 production assistant who through a lot of hustle (and the occasional lie) talked his way into becoming the rapper's manager when Jones was serving a three-year stint in prison in the early 2000s. Despite Weisfeld's inexperience, and having a client whose talent was undermined by addiction and mental illness, the novice manager engineered an unlikely comeback -- only to have it cut short by the star's fatal drug overdose in 2004 at age 35. Dirty White Boy is being produced by Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy, whose Beginners won Christopher Plummer an Academy Award last month. The screenplay is by Brent Hoff, who worked at VH1 and met Weisfeld and ODB when they were working on a reality show there. (Entertainment Weekly)

Over the fall, Wu-Tang leader RZA spoke on comedians Eddie Griffin and Tracy Morgan squaring off to take on the role of ODB in a movie project.

"Eddie Griffin is down" he said. "Me and Eddie talked about it, laughed about it. Tracy Morgan, he wanna do it [too]. I said 'Ya'll both kinda can do it." Asked who had an edge, the Wu-Tang Clan leader hinted at Griifin. "Eddie spent time with Dirty," he shared. "They knew each other well." The ODB movie has apparently been in the works for some time now, with Raeshawn, another cousin of the wild and crazy rapper, penning the script. "He's been working on it for two years now," RZA confirmed. "[In fact] I think Eddie's already signed on with a letter of Intent--I signed on, of course. So you know [Raeshawn] got my blessin' to make it happen." (XXL Mag)

Back in 2010, the Wu's Raekwon spoke to SOHH about his days around ODB.

"I think at the end of the day, all of the great times I had with him when he was alive, it was something about just being around him. One thing I can always say about ODB is he would give everybody around him drama, but when it came to me, it was different. I could be around him and tell him, "Yo, you're wilding," or "Yo, n*gga, you doing something that you're not really supposed to be doing." He always knew I was one of the individuals that was always gonna keep it funky with him. Me and him would laugh about it because he'd say, "Yo, Raekwon, I can't even get at you but all them other n*ggas." It wasn't really so much the other n*ggas, but he would be able to put them out real quick and he never came at me like that, so, I would just say what was missing was the times." (SOHH Guest Star)

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