While I thought director F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton was excellent, I left the theater wondering if a number of scenes were left on the cutting room floor, especially towards the end when the film introduces a number of additional characters. For me, the first two thirds were fantastic, but the last third couldn’t weave the tapestry of the various characters and plot lines with the limited amount of screen time in the last act. I felt like the last forty minutes could have been its own movie.
So when I spoke to F. Gary Gray at the press junket, I wasn’t surprised when he told me his first cut was a touch over three hours and he felt like it worked. After learning about this cut, I asked if we might see it and he confirmed he was putting the finishing touches on a director’s cut for the eventual Blu-ray. However, when I pressed him for a running time, he turned the question around by saying he wanted people to focus on the cut in theaters.
Now that the movie has opened to massive success at the box office, I decided to do a little digging and learned that his director’s cut runs about two hours and forty six minutes, which means we’ll get about sixteen additional minutes.
However, with the critical and commercial success of Straight Outta Compton, I’m starting to wonder if Universal could release this director’s cut in theaters as a special engagement? Would audiences that have already seen the film be willing to go back for a longer cut? Or perhaps the studio does a special one-week engagement right before the Blu-ray hits? I know that I want to see this longer cut and I’m sure a lot of you do as well.
Produced by original N.W.A members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, alongside Matt Alvarez and Tomica Woods-Wright, Straight Outta Compton chronicles the rise and fall of the legendary hip-hop group and it’s an honest and powerful look at what brought the group together and what tore them apart. The film stars O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Ice Cube, Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre and Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, and Paul Giamatti as the group’s manager. For more watch the red-band trailer.
Anyway, in the video below you can see F. Gary Gray, Ice Cube and DJ Yella talk about how much of the movie is fictionalized, what changed during production, editing challenges, and a lot more.
Gary Gray, Ice Cube and DJ Yella:
- How much of the movie is fictionalized?
- How much changed during production?
- What was the most challenging sequence to edit?
- How long was the first cut of the film?
- Gray made a director’s cut for the Blu-ray.