The history of hip-hop is filled with larger-than-life characters, whose personal lives seem to have enough drama, conflict and hijinks to fill countless Hollywood movies. Even among these, the rapper known as Ol' Dirty Bastard stood out, leaving behind a wild history of antics, incarceration, dust-ups and, of course, music after his death in 2004.
The idea of playing ODB in film seems like a daunting prospect for any actor, but a background as the most feared drug thief on the streets of Baltimore might help, not to mention time spent as a gangster in Atlantic City. Thankfully, Michael K. Williams, who starred as Omar Little on legendary HBO TV series The Wire and as Chalky White on the same network's Boardwalk Empire, appears to have just the right CV, and has signed on to play the one-time member of the Wu-Tang Clan in the upcoming biopic Dirty White Boy.
As the name suggests, the rapper born Russell Tyrone Jones is not the chief focus of the movie, which will instead centre on the story of ODB's manager, Jarred Weisfeld. Weisfeld - who, along with ODB's mother Cherry Jones, has pledged full co-operation with the film project - was a VH-1 intern who visited ODB in prison before become involved in his career.
Williams has seen his career go from strength to strength since his turn as Omar on The Wire, a character that even U.S. President Barack Obama has cited as a favourite. Williams was in the red chair last year, which is when he learned that he'd received an unofficial presidential seal of approval:
As for ODB, he rose to fame as one of the most outrageous members of the already outrageous Wu-Tang Clan when the group broke out in 1993 with the album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). With Wu-Tang and as a solo artist, he developed a unique persona and a wide following, even as his life was marked with increasingly erratic behaviour and controversies over drugs, jail time and other legal issues.
Here is an early interview clip with member of the Wu-Tang Clan from MTV's BoxTalk ...
... and the video clip for ODB's Bklyn Zoo:
Would Omar be any match for ODB? We'll soon find out.
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