Alan Wenkus and Leigh Savidge: Going from BlueCat to Universal
I am sure that most of you have heard the buzz surrounding an upcoming film, “Straight Outta Compton,” which is a biopic on N.W.A., a hiphop/rap group made up of Eazy E, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre. What you may not know is that the writers of the script, Alan Wenkus and Leigh Savidge, were the 2008 BlueCat Quarter-Finalists for their screenplay, “Lance Manion” – which is now casting to become a Handstamp Studios and Xenon Pictures web series. We caught up with Alan Wenkus, who filled us in on the latest news about “Straight Outta Compton” and how this all came about.
The process of writing “Straight Outta Compton” began when Leigh Savidge made a documentary called “Welcome to Death Row” about the rise and fall of Death Row Records. For this documentary, Savidge interviewed former NWA manager Jerry Heller. Heller discovered that Savidge, along with Wenkus, was a screenwriter and started to tell them of the early days of NWA.
When Heller told Wenkus and Savidge the story of NWA, they “knew it was an amazing and epic topic for a feature film.” They wrote the film script for “Straight Outta Compton” while continuing to interview Jerry Heller on Sunday afternoons. After they met with Heller, they took the script to Eazy E’s widow, Tomica Wright. Wright “loved the script,” and Wenkus and Savidge collaborated with her on several following drafts.
After Wenkus and Savidge got the NWA music rights attached to their script, producers David Engel and Bill Straus of the New York and L.A. based management and production entity, Circle of Confusion set up the project at New Line Cinema where Ice Cube and his company Cube Vision were also attached as producers.
Wenkus reported to BlueCat that once “Ice Cube got involved it really started to take off.” Ice Cube helped to line up director F. Gary Gray (Friday, Set It Off, The Negotiator, and The Italian Job). The production later moved to Universal, where it is now in fast-track production, with David Engel, Bill Straus, Dr. Dre and Tomica Wright attached as producers.
BlueCat is super excited for the outcome of “Straight Outta Compton” and the future endeavors of Alan Wenkus and Leigh Savidge. So keep tabs on these rising stars! If you just can’t get enough of them and want more information, check out these stories that feature information about their film!