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Raekwon Says RZA Turned Down a Leonardo DiCaprio Produced Wu-Tang Biopic

Staten Island legend, Raekwon The Chef, has released his new book From Staircase to Stage: The Story of Raekwon and Wu-Tang Clan, a memoir that follows his life as an emcee in one of hip-hop’s most prolific supergroups of all time. In an excerpt from the memoir, Raekwon details the time Leonardo Dicaprio offered to produce a biopic about the group, until the de facto leader, RZA, stepped in and declined the offer. 

“RZA had been talking about a Wu-Tang movie ever since he got involved in Hollywood,” Raekwon said in a Rolling Stone-shared excerpt from his memoir. Rae was inspired to release a Wu-tang biopic after the success of N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton film. At the time, RZA and Rae disagreed about whether or not the film should be made. 

RZA, “allegedly received a production offer” amounting to $10 million. After RZA insisted this wasn’t enough to make a film about The Wu, Raekwon thought it was a good starting point. From there, it was agreed that Rae would try to land a higher value deal using his own industry connections.


“First thing I did was call my brother Q-Tip, who told me he’d get me in touch with Leonardo DiCaprio, who is a real close friend of his and a big Wu fan,” Raekwon wrote. This call spurred a meeting with Rae, Tip, and DiCaprio (as well as his then-girlfriend) at what the Only Built 4 Cuban Linx artist described as an “old mafioso-looking pizza spot” in Brooklyn. 

Raekwon details that RZA was not comfortable during the first meeting but thought he would eventually come to an agreement once they had a one-on-one with the execs.  “He barely said anything and seemed to be going through the motions, nothing more,” Raekwon 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.”

Raekwon admits to being upset about how the meeting with RZA played out, saying although he “didn’t spaz” on RZA, he was still hurt that he didn’t close the deal.  “This bullshit hurt my feelings because it proved to me that he’d already counted me out before I began,” he said.

Raekwon’s 32-page  From Staircase to Stage: The Story of Raekwon and the Wu-Tang Clan is out now. 



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