Wu-Tang is for the children—and Hollywood is for ODB.
The long-gestating biopic of Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard is now in the works, ODB’s cousin and producer RZA confirmed to Rolling Stone, adding that a script has been penned and he’s been approached to direct but “wouldn’t mind not doing.”
“There are a few wheels in motion with one done by our first cousin Rayshawn; he was the young guy there watching everything that happened,” he says. “Him and ODB’s wife have been talking and he has a pretty interesting script. I just saw a 12-minute teaser that he shot about a year ago and it felt pretty f***ing cool.”
The idea for telling the larger than life rapper’s story had been sidelined since 2011.
RZA credits “Straight Outta Compton,” which opened to critical and box office success over the summer, as the reason behind Hollywood’s interest in bringing the erratic rapper to the big screen. “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.”
Ol’ Dirty Bastard, born Russell Tyrone Jones, died two days ahead of his 36th birthday on Nov. 13, 2004 from a heart attack that stemmed from drug use. He rose to fame as a member of Wu-Tang Clan with the rap group’s 1993 breakout album, as well as his hit collaborations with Mariah Carey on 1995’s “Fantasy” (Remix) and Mya on 1999’s Grammy-nominated “Ghetto Superstar (That Is What You Are).”
But it was his antics offstage that received the most attention.
In 1995, he shamelessly allowed MTV News to film him as he discussed his solo album and his history of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Incredibly, cameras continued to roll as he made a stop in a limousine to pick up his food stamps and cash a $375 welfare check—two years into his successful career as an entertainer. “Why wouldn’t you want to get free money?” he asked. At the time he was still benefits-eligible because he failed to file his taxes.
He battled addiction—often appearing visibly under the influence of drink and drugs. And was saddled with legal troubles, stints in jail, and fathering 13 children from different women. In 2003, Mariah Carey joined him for a press conference following a prison release.
Perhaps his most famous stunt was in 1995 when Shawn Colvin was announced as the Song of the Year winner at the Grammy Awards.
ODB rushed the stage and went on a rant about losing out to Puff Daddy for an award given earlier in the program for Best Rap Album. After airing his sour grapes—and before a handler escorted him away—ODB wanted the music community and world to know this: “Wu-Tang is for children.”