Interview: Straight Outta Compton’s writer on meeting Suge Knight, negotiating fact and fiction

S. Leigh Savidge made his first of many cinematic splashes in 1986, when he founded Xenon Pictures. The company, still alive and well, is often heralded as being the first home entertainment label for “independent black audience films.” Those early years at Xenon involved the purchasing and repackaging of films from directors like Tim Story, Melvin Van Peebles, and Rudy Ray Moore. Jump ahead a decade, and Savidge finds himself hypnotized by the larger-than-life saga of Death Row Records, the music label founded by illustrious producer Dr. Dre and the equally illustrious (albeit for his checkered past with the law) Suge Knight. Come 1998, Savidge begins production on Welcome To Death Row, a documentary-turned-book that would unalterably change the course of his life. With the release of Straight Outta Compton, Savidge—whose aforementioned projects serve as the foundation for F. Gary Gray’s mesmerizing biopic—spoke with The A.V …

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