Not many people can convincingly look like, sound like and think like a fresh-faced Ice Cube on the big screen. That’s why his mini-me son O’Shea Jackson Jr. was the best choice to bring to life his story as a founding member of the ‘90s gangster rap group NWA in “Straight Outta Compton.”
Even so, the 46-year-old rapper-actor tells Made in Hollywood that he equipped his son with intimate details about his past as an aspiring musician on the tough streets of Los Angeles’ South Central area.
“I gave him notes more about what I was thinking, what I was feeling, how did I perceive this guy or that guy or this situation,” he says. “And I just gave him all the ammunition he needed so that when he did say something, he knew where it was coming from and he could just be.”
After a two-year audition process, Jackson, 23, was locked in to portray the younger version of his “21 Jump Street” star father. “It was a long process just to cement my family in history,” he recalls.
For the budding actor, the casting choice was a no-brainer.
“(You) could have somebody study him, look him up on YouTube—do all that type of stuff—or somebody who has been watching him for over 20 years,” Jackson says. “I’ve been doing my research since before I could walk, so it was really about taking my family’s legacy and making sure it was in my hands because I know I’m going to treat it right.”