Paul Giamatti has closed a deal to star in F. Gary Gray’s currently filming NWA biopic “Straight Outta Compton” for Universal Pictures.
Giamatti will play Jerry Heller, manager of the pioneering West Coast rap group of the mid-1980s. Heller was already a major figure in the music scene who represented acts ranging form Journey to ELO to REO Speedwagon.
He co-founded the label Ruthless Records with Eazy-E and both signed and managed N.W.A. and oversaw their rise. When the band broke up, Heller was pegged as the cause of the group’s disbandment.
Giamatti joins a cast that includes O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Ice Cube, Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E and Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre.