Snoop Dogg biopic being written by Black Panther co-writer

Snoop Dogg Is Getting a Biopic, Courtesy of Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg has licensed his music for an official biopic.

The movie will be a Universal Pictures project, the same studio that released NWA movie Straight Outta Compton in 2015. Snoop Dogg was played by Atlanta actor LaKeith Stanfield in that movie. A lead actor for the Snoop biopic hasn’t yet been announced.

Director Allen Hughes is currently attached alongside screenwriter Joe Robert Cole. Hughes’ previous work includes Menace II Society while Cole is the co-writer of both Black Panther movies.

“I waited a long time to put this project together because I wanted to choose the right director, the perfect writer, and the greatest movie company I could partner with that could understand the legacy that I’m trying to portray on screen, and the memory I’m trying to leave behind,” Snoop said in a statement.

Earlier this year Snoop Dogg joined Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J. Blige as part of an all-star hip-hop Super Bowl half-time show. He also took back control of Death Row Records and announced his intention to make it the first ever NFT major label.

In his 51 years, Snoop Dogg has been a rapper, actor, producer, video-game character, Bollywood soundtrack contributor, NFT enthusiast, and a reggae singer. And now he’ll get to tell the story of at least some of his many achievements in a new biopic of himself that he’s producing for Universal, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film will be directed by Allen Hughes of the Hughes Brothers, who together directed seminal ‘90s films Menace II Society and Dead Presidents. (Hughes also directed the HBO docuseries The Defiant Ones about Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, and an upcoming five-part FX documentary on Tupac Shakur.) As the film’s producer, Snoop has granted rights for his music to be used, and the as-yet-untitled project will be released through Death Row Pictures, an offshoot of the legendary Death Row Records, which Snoop purchased earlier this year.

“Snoop Dogg is one of the most internationally beloved figures in hip-hop. There’s just something about his energy that brings people of all walks of life together. Snoop Dogg, not just the artist, but the man and his brand, has transcended generations with his connection and appeal to audiences,” Hughes said in a statement. “His story is so authentic and utterly inspiring, and to have the opportunity to tell his story allows me to go back to the hood 30 years after Menace II Society, and say more now than I could then.”

The script will be written by Joe Robert Cole, who co-wrote both Black Panther and its upcoming sequel with Ryan Coogler, and earned an Emmy nod for his work on The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.

There are no details on how much or what the biopic will cover of Snoop’s storied career. Though historically, biopics produced by the subjects themselves have tended to gloss over or sidestep parts of their lives. For example, the N.W.A. movie Straight Outta Compton was a critical and commercial success, but drew criticism for ignoring Dr. Dre’s history of abusing women, such as journalist Dee Barnes. (Dre and Ice Cube co-produced the film.) Also a massive success, the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (produced by the band’s manager, with heavy input from the remaining members of Queen) received flack for glossing over singer Freddie Mercury’s queerness.

There is significant drama and triumph to be mined from Snoop’s long and varied musical career: his tumultuous departure from Death Row following Tupac’s death; his success as part of No Limit in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s; and his re-reinvention as part of Pharrell’s Star Trak roster, scoring perhaps the biggest solo hit of his career with 2004’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” But will the movie touch on Snoop’s 1993 arrest and trial for the shooting of Philip Wolden, for which he was acquitted in 1996? Or the lawsuit filed, withdrawn, and then refiled this year by a woman who accused him and his friend of sexual assault in 2013? (Making this an even more complicated question is the fact that the friend named in the lawsuit is former pimp Bishop Don Magic Juan, one of the subjects of the 1999 documentary American Pimp…directed by the Hughes Brothers. )

While this will be the first film to wholly focus on Snoop, it’s not the first time he has been portrayed on screen: He was played by Atlanta star Lakeith Stanfield in Straight Outta Compton, by Anwan Glover in The Notorious B.I.G. doc Notorious, and twice by Jarrett Ellis in biopics about Tupac and Master P, the latter of which is forthcoming.

Earlier this year, 50 Cent announced that a series he was working on about Snoop’s high-profile murder trial would not be moving forward at Starz. “Murder Was the Case is no longer in production at Starz. I [gave] them the alley-oop, they drop the damn ball. Anyway, I hope Snoop tell[s] his story.” Now he will.

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Stevie Flavio
Film Writer


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