Guess Which Oscar-Nominated Actor Will Play Jerry Heller In N.W.A’s Biopic…

Jerry Heller, a famed mogul of Gangsta Rap in the late 1980s and early 1990s, helped Eazy-E and N.W.A crossover into mainstream America, as well as a global audience. A veteran record executive who had worked with the likes of Elton John and Ike & Tina Turner, the Cleveland, Ohio native was later vilified by Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and The D.O.C. following N.W.A’s break-up. A controversial record executive, the 73 year-old Heller wrote his side of the Ruthless Records’ story (as co-founder and president) in Ruthless, a 2006 book.


In the F. Gary Gray-directed N.W.A biopic, titled Straight Outta Compton, Heller’s character is played by none other than Paul Giamatti—according to the Hollywood Reporter. The actor has been Academy Award nominated (Cinderella Man), in addition to lead roles in Sideways, Fred Claus, and American Splendor. More recently, the 47 year-old starred in 12 Years A Slave.

Q&A: Paul Giamatti

Jerry Heller remained at Ruthless Records prior to Eazy-E’s death, helping sign and develop Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. In addition to penning a book, ironically, the onetime mogul wrote accounts of being neighbors with one of his star signings-turned-foe, Dr. Dre, in his memoir.

The film is slated to hit theaters a year from this week.

Related: Ruthless Records Playlist