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Suge Knight Sells His ‘Life Rights’ to Producer to Make New Biopic

Hip-hop mogul and current resident of San Diego’s RJ Donovan Correctional Facility Suge Knight reportedly has just made a deal to have his life story told by producer Steve Whitney and his company TSW Films.  

Now the man behind the 2005 remake of “The Amityville Horror” film is enlisting Nick Cassavetes and Anthony Thorne to write the script, unfolding the life of the Death Row records co-founder, who is serving time for voluntary manslaughter.

Death Row Records co-founder, Marion “Suge” Knight, appears at a pretrial court hearing on May 15, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. – Knight is charged with several crimes, including attempted murder and hit-and-run for allegedly ramming his pickup truck into two men, killing one of them, after a dispute on the set of the movie “Straight Outta Compton.” (Photo by DAVID MCNEW / AFP) (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Deadline, Whitney has focused a lot of his career on the retelling of people’s stories for the big screen. In his film “One Chance,” starring James Corden and produced with Simon Cowell, he chronicled the life of Paul Potts, the extraordinary Britain’s Got Talent winner who captured the hearts of the world in the franchise’s first season in 2007.

Now the producer is shifting his attention to Marion “Suge” Knight, one of rap music’s most powerful figures.

Whitney shared why he believed the Blood gang member would make an interesting story, “During the golden era of rap and hip hop, all roads led through Suge Knight. That era helped define a new brand of music and culture that changed the world.”

However, it was Knight that gave a stronger case for his life to be immortalized in film.

“Over the last 30 years, there has been so much talk about Compton, me, the inner cities, and Death Row – A lot of talk,” the former executive said in a statement. “Even when it comes to making my movie there have been so many imposters saying they have my rights, or they got the deal – that was, and is, all talk.” 

He continued, “I jumped off the porch in my neighborhood at a young age but never forgot where I came from. Most people try to ride the hills, I made it and tried to bring as many people to the hills with me and feel that I was successful at it.”

When sharing his journey he recalled, “I met a guy named Mike Klein that was with Ruthless.

David Kenner was on the phone with Michael Harris and they took a meeting with Jerry Heller and during the process of taking that meeting, they were trying to sell Dre back to Ruthless behind my back. Mike Klein told me about it and I respect him for it – We became friends.”

“So when it came time to do a real movie and tell the truth about it he introduced me to Steve Whitney. Now, Steve, Mike, and I, and the woman that has my back, are making this movie. Taking it to the next level,” he concluded.

In 2019, sources told TMZ that singer and businessman Ray J had acquired the “life rights” to the Knight story. (It remains unclear what that supposed acquisition entailed, as the details of someone’s life story would not be copyright-protected.) Brandy’s brother purportedly stepped in to help Knight and his family make money while he was locked up.

However, days later, Suge gave an interview from prison with The Blast and claimed that Ray J didn’t own his life rights, but was merely in charge of his label business.

He shared that his fiancée Toi-Lin Kelly, who has the power of attorney over his estate, is the only one handling his deals for movies, TV, or documentaries. She is also the one person who has a say over his medical decisions, provided Knight is unable to care for himself. During the call, he also stated that Nick Cannon, who he believes is an excellent writer, will be writing his book.

The role that Suge will have in the upcoming film with Whitney, outside of being the main subject, is unknown.


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