In an excerpt from his new memoir, From Staircase to Stage, Raekwon recalled how a Wu biopic backed by the famous actor almost came to fruition — until RZA decided not to move forward with it.
The past few years has seen the Wu-Tang Clan‘s story hit the small screen thanks to the documentary series Of Mics and Men and the Hulu drama series An American Saga. But there was a time when the beloved hip-hop collective could’ve had a Leonardo DiCaprio-backed biopic told on the big screen, according to Wu member Raekwon.
In an excerpt from his new memoir, From Staircase to Stage, Rae shared how DiCaprio was interested in bringing a Wu biopic to life, but it didn’t come to fruition because of RZA. Shared via Rolling Stone, the excerpt goes on to recount how Rae — with some help from Q-Tip — managed to get a meeting with DiCaprio about making a Wu movie together, which came about after Rae expressed to RZA that he’d rather the group’s story be told as a movie instead of a series, saying he “didn’t like the terms, the money, any of it.”
Upon getting the meeting with DiCaprio, Rae said the two “started talking about the possibility of a Wu-Tang movie and I told Leo I’d love to see him play a role in it, anything he wanted to do.”
“He talked about his production company and all the directors he thought might do a great job — and these were big names and people he’d worked with,” Rae said. “He was super open to the idea, and after that meal, he had his production company executives reach out to me.”
From there, Rae and RZA have an initial meeting with members from DiCaprio’s production company, and it seems as if RZA is onboard with the idea of them backing a Wu movie. However, upon doing another meeting with the production company, Rae realized that the Wu leader wasn’t actually interested as he seemed.
“We met somewhere in the Valley, and the minute he got there, RZA’s energy was entirely different. He barely said anything and seemed to be going through the motions, nothing more,” Rae said. “I could tell he wasn’t going to agree to do it, and my instincts told me why: my guess is that he was already in bed with a production company, deep into developing the scripted series for TV, even though none of us had signed off on it.”
Rae goes on to share that RZA tried to justify shooting down the biopic but the Only Built 4 Cuban Linx rapper wasn’t hearing it.
“He just kept insisting the scripted series deal he had found was better than the major motion picture deal I had found. As I left him that day I had tears in my eyes,” Rae said.
Well, at the very least, An American Saga has been well-received, with the series just completing its second season (it will have a third and final season). And Rae himself appreciates the series, with both him and his mom approving of Shameik Moore’s portrayal of him.