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Lionsgate developing 2 Live Crew biopic: 'Straight Outta Compton' meets 'Larry Flynt'

Luther Campbell of the rap group 2 Live Crew at a 1994 news conference after a unanimous Supreme Court ruling that copyright owners cannot prevent all parodies of their songs. (Lynne Sladky / Associated Press)
Luther Campbell of the rap group 2 Live Crew at a 1994 news conference after a unanimous Supreme Court ruling that copyright owners cannot prevent all parodies of their songs. (Lynne Sladky / Associated Press)

Hip-hop certainly has no shortage of screen-ready melodrama. Can Lionsgate do for Miami booty bass legends 2 Live Crew what Universal's "Straight Outta Compton" did for L.A.'s own N.W.A?

Deadline reports that Lionsgate is "moving quickly" on a rap biopic based on the life of Luther "Luke" Campbell, the 2 Live Crew producer and frontman well remembered for laying down such iconic lyrics as, "You ain't nothing but a hoochie mama -- hood rat, hood rat, hoochie mama."

The musician signed the group to his own record label in the late 1980s before becoming their hype man, manager and eventually the face of 2 Live Crew. He led them to victory in a 1994 Supreme Court parody case waged over their use of Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman," a fight that has Deadline calling the biopic "Straight Outta Compton" meets "The People vs. Larry Flynt." 

Much more salacious -- and R-rated, and arguably historically significant -- were the federal obscenity charges lobbed against the group over their sexually explicit 1989 album "As Nasty As They Wanna Be." Thanks to songs like "Me So Horny," 2 Live Crew earned a sales ban in Florida that was later overturned, and sealed their place as one of the (legally) dirtiest rap groups in history.

"What this does is let black folks know that the 1st Amendment really does apply to us," Campbell said at the time, according to the Times archives. "It says we can speak our minds the same way that white people do. This isn't just a victory for 2 Live Crew. The entire music industry won big on this one."

According to Deadline, Craig A. Williams is scripting the biopic based on Campbell's memoir "The Book of Luke: My Fight for Truth, Justice and Liberty City," with "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" actor RJ Cyler, 22, set to play a young Luke in the film.

Cyler was most recently seen on multiplex screens as the Blue Ranger in "Power Rangers." The film is produced by Temple Hill's Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey and John Fischer and executive produced by Mike Epps and Industry Entertainment.

The post-"Straight Outta Compton" thirst for hip-hop biopics will be tested this weekend when Lionsgate-owned Summit Entertainment releases its Tupac Shakur biopic, "All Eyez On Me," on 2,400 screens nationwide. 

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