Although biographical films about hip-hop pioneers have become a hot commodity in recent years — just see Straight Outta Compton, Roxanne, Roxanne, and Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B for proof — one group that has yet to see its story adapted to the big screen is Wu-Tang Clan, which instead has been recounting its origin in the Hulu original series Wu-Tang: An American Saga. However, according to group member Raekwon, the group did come close thanks to an unlikely ally: Leonardo DiCaprio.
In an excerpt of Raekwon’s upcoming memoir From Staircase To Stage: The Story Of Raekwon And Wu-Tang Clan published on Rolling Stone today, Raekwon detailed his efforts to produce a Wu-Tang film with DiCaprio’s help — and how RZA ultimately shut those plans down in favor of the television series concept.
“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,” Rae recounts of meeting the actor at what he calls “an old mafioso-looking pizza spot.” “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.”
However, Rae recalls, “RZA’s energy was entirely different. He barely said anything and seemed to be going through the motions, nothing more. 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 “Ice Cream” rapper said the move hurt his feelings “because it proved to me that he’d already counted me out before I began. He didn’t think I could bring that kind of power to the table, but I’d gotten them there, all ready to rock and roll.” Eventually, though, the TV show plans went ahead and the show itself has become a well-received success, so even if Raekwon’s movie idea could have been a winner, it looks like the story was told how it needed to be after all.