RZA Is Bringing O.D.B.’s Life Story To The Big Screen

A biopic spotlighting one of the most polarizing individuals ever to handle the microphone has officially been green-lighted. Whispers of a film presenting the peculiar life of Wu-Tang Clan’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard have been swirling since 2016, and with Sony’s Colombia Pictures affirming the headway, enthusiasts of the Staten Island, New York-based collective and Brooklyn MC can rejoice in unison.

The ever-eccentric “Dirt McGirt,” who passed away in 2004 of an accidental drug overdose just days before his 36th birthday, accumulated an eternity of outrageous and unforgettable moments throughout his extraordinary career. Plagued by both schizophrenia and addiction, the unpredictable O.D.B. notoriously rushed the stage at the 1998 Grammy’s after losing the award for “Best Rap Album.” “Big Baby Jesus” (just one of his many famous monikers) chalked up a collection of other bizarre moments, from performing as a fugitive on the run in 2000 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, to picking up public assistance money while riding in a limo during an MTV News segment, and almost engulfing himself in flames after getting too close to the pyrotechnics during a performance of “Ghetto Supastar” with Pras and Mya at the 1998 Video Music Awards. Captivating because of his antics as much as his lyrical technique, there is no doubt that a biopic accounting Russel Tyrone Jones’ existence will have no shortage of subject matter.

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With the hunt for the optimal director still pending, it is Wu-Tang’s commanding general, RZA (who is also O.D.B.’s cousin) that will take on the production load of the biopic. Already accomplished in the motion picture world, RZA has rendered impressive performances as both an actor (American Gangster) and director (The Man With The Iron Fists). The currently unnamed biopic based on the life of his family member and co-creator will certainly stand as his most personal project to date though. In 2016, with the momentum of the film just gaining steam, RZA told Rolling Stone, “From the age of six, me and [Ol’ Dirty Bastard] used to push shopping carts around grocery stores and try and get nickels. There are few people that know the real him as much as me. So it would be something that I would be honored to do, but there’s a lot of moving parts to it.

Two years later, the moving parts have found form and will be launched into action. With the influx of Hip-Hop-based biopics (Straight Outta Compton, Notorious, All Eyez On Me, Roxanne Roxanne, etc.)  being generated as time passes, a feature film on Ol’ Dirty Bastard is another significant advance in chronicling the fascinating history and grand influence of Hip-Hop and its culture’s architects.