While it’s tempting to assume that O’Shea Jackson Jr. got his role as Ice Cube in Straight Outta Compton because he’s playing his father, director F. Gary Gray says that was not the case.
The Compton director stopped by EW’s Lounge at Comic-Con to discuss his upcoming biopic that traces the history of N.W.A. And while talking about the production with EW’s Sara Vilkomerson, Gray refuted the notion that Jackson Jr. slid into the role of his father as the result of simple nepotism.
“He totally had to audition — it took two years,” Gray said. “There was a little bit of a leg up because he knows the guy, it’s his dad. But it actually worked against him a little bit too because people assumed, ‘Oh, there’s going to be a little nepotism; he’s hired because he’s his kid.’ So I put him through it. I put him through it because once you get beyond the novelty of Shea being his son, he still has to carry a movie.”
Gray also discussed the other project he was at Comic-Con to promote, an Assassin’s Creed Syndicate short film, and what kind of project he’d like to tackle next. (Disney and Warner Bros. may want to keep an eye out.)
Watch the video above to hear more from Gray about casting the film’s iconic roles and more before Straight Outta Compton hits theaters on Aug. 14.