When I read headlines saying that Michael K. Williams, best known as Omar from The Wire and Chalky White from Boardwalk Empire, would be playing the late Old Dirty Bastard in a biopic, I got equal parts excited and confused. Williams is dynamic and has a good chance of doing the wild Wu-Tang member’s persona some justice, but who knew that America was interested in an ODB biopic? Well, it turns out that they’re not, exactly.
Williams will play ODB in the upcoming film Dirty White Boy, which is actually about…a dirty white boy named Jarred Weisfeld, a 22-year-old VH1 production assistant with very little entertainment experience who talked his way into becoming the drug-addled rapper’s assistant. The film will focus on Westfield’s uncommon hustle and all of the hard work he put into ODB’s comeback until the rapper’s untimely death from a drug overdose cut that trajectory short in 2004. Cool story, bro.
Hearing that yet another movie will focus on the white auxillary character in an intriguing black person’s life is extremely annoying, and I don’t understand why this keeps happening in Hollywood. Like The Blind Side, Cry Freedom, and a host of others, Dirty White Boy is in the category of “movies that should reasonably be about the more intriguing black character whose life is the reason for the story but are somehow centered around a secondary white character.” This is not to say that the idea of an Old Dirty Bastard biopic is foolproof by any means, but it’s so tiring to see talented actors like Williams who should be leading men end up in roles that should be lead roles but are written as otherwise.