Prolific director Spike Lee is looking to work with some of music’s biggest names to star in his upcoming film Chiraq. The director claims that he is attempting to recruit rappers Kanye West and Common alongside actors Samuel L. Jackson and Jeremy Piven to fill out the cast list for the film, which is believed to be shot and set in Chicago. The title Chiraq comes from a song by a Chicago-based rapper, Lil Durk. It is believed that the film will detail the rising prevalence of gun violence that the city has been experiencing.
Both Kanye West and Common hail from Chicago, so it is possible that Lee believes the rappers would bring an additional sense of legitimacy to the project. This would hardly be Common’s first acting roll. The rapper has been appearing in film since 2002 when he made his debut playing himself in Brown Sugar. In 2003, he made an appearance on television playing his first character in Girlfriends, and in 2007, he made his film debut as an original character in Smokin’ Aces.
Recently, the star received critical acclaim for his role in the historical drama Selma, for which he also supplied music for the film’s soundtrack. His soundtrack contribution “Glory” has received a series of awards this year, including an Academy Award in the Best Original Song Category. The rapper has experienced a resurgence in his rap career as well after the successes of Selma. In 2015, he was nominated for two Grammy Awards, his first since 2011.
Kanye West, on the other hand, does not have much film experience. The rapper has appeared as himself in several projects since 2005, and he has also starred in two short films that he has written and directed himself. The rapper has expressed an interest in breaking into the industry and is rumored to be making an apperance in the upcoming Zoolander sequel. Chiraq could present the musician with an opportunity to truly break into the film world with a more serious effort. Currently, West is working on releasing his seventh solo studio album So Help Me God, which is scheduled for release sometime in 2015.
Spike Lee’s most recent film is 2014’s Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, which he wrote, directed, and produced. The film was funded through Kickstarter, and was shot with a small budget in 16 days. Lee has also worked as a director on music videos for the likes of Michael Jackson, Public Enemy, and Eminem. Most recently, the director worked with Eminem on his 2014 effort “Headlights,” and he was also responsible for working on Michael Jackson’s posthumous release of “This Is It” in 2009. Thus far, neither Common nor West have publicly replied to Lee’s request.
FDRMX Eyes: Nick Deutsch is a singer-songwriter based in New York. Deutsch recently revealed his latest music video for the song, “Crazy Ride.”