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Raekwon Says RZA Rejected a Leonardo DiCaprio Wu-Tang Biopic

The rapper says the pair discussed a big budget film, but RZA wanted to tell Wu-Tang's story through a scripted TV show instead

raekwon says rza rejected a leonardo dicaprio wu-tang biopic in new memoir
Raekwon, photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster
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    Leonardo DiCaprio’s a big Wu-Tang Clan fan, and Raekwon is apparently a big enough Leonardo DiCaprio fan that he was all set to let the actor’s production company create a biopic about his rap group. Unfortunately, the rapper says his bandmate RZA shut the film down in favor of Wu-Tang: An American Saga, the TV series now streaming on Hulu.

    In a Rolling Stone-published excerpt from the rapper’s memoir, From Staircase To Stage: The Story Of Raekwon And Wu-Tang Clan, Raekwon writes that he was inspired by the success of N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton film and wanted to pursue a similar project, but that RZA believed a scripted series was the best way to tell the group’s story. When he convinced his bandmate to let him shop around for movie deals, he met up with DiCaprio though their mutual friend, A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip.

    “Next time Leo came to town, me and Tip met Leo and his then-girlfriend out in Brooklyn at an old mafioso-looking pizza spot near Sunset Park that Leo loves,” Raekwon writes. “We had a great time, eating pizza, telling stories, laughing and shit. Then we started talking about the possibility of a Wu-Tang movie and I told Leo I’d love to see him play a role in it, anything he wanted to do. He talked about his production company and all the directors he thought might do a great job — and these were big names and people he’d worked with.”

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    Raekown says that even though DiCaprio’s production company seemed “super open” to producing a Wu-Tang movie, “talking real numbers, with the goal of an even bigger release than Straight Outta Compton,” “RZA’s energy was entirely different.”

    “He barely said anything and seemed to be going through the motions, nothing more,” the rapper writes. “I could tell he wasn’t going to agree to do it, and my instincts told me why: my guess is that he was already in bed with a production company, deep into developing the scripted series for TV, even though none of us had signed off on it.”

    The scripted series for TV ended up being Wu-Tang: An American Saga, which was recently renewed for a third and final season. Anyone know if three Hulu seasons come out to more money than one Leonardo DiCaprio film?

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    From Staircase To Stage: The Story Of Raekwon And Wu-Tang is out now via Simon & Schuster. Raekwon is currently wrapping up the “3 Chambers Tour,” which sees him and fellow Wu-Tang founding members GZA and Ghostface Killah perform their solo material in a “tri-headlining” show. Tickets for the tour’s remaining December dates are on sale here.

     

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