Former NWA manager Jerry Heller is suing the stars and producers attached to recent hit film Straight Outta Compton, claiming the movie has done irreversible damage to his reputation and that its producers failed to obtain any permission to include his likeness. In his $110 million defamation lawsuit filing, Heller further insists he was never the "bad guy" responsible for NWA’s demise, nor does he accept being portrayed as a "sleazy manager who took advantage of Eazy E, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube." Paul Giamatti played Heller in the film, which spent weeks atop the box office and quickly became the highest-grossing musical biopic in history.
Heller’s complaint also alleges that Compton’s producers "blatantly lifted" from his own book for source material without compensating him. "What I will tell you is that it wasn’t very accurate," he told TMZ immediately after seeing the film’s Los Angeles premiere. "So I’m looking at it very carefully now. I’ll be making some kind of decision as to what the lawyers and I are gonna do over the next couple weeks."
That decision, apparently, was to sue pretty much anyone and everyone connected to the hugely successful biopic. Heller’s suit names Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, the estate of Eazy-E, NBC Universal, Legendary Pictures, and director Gary Gray among its many defendants. "At the end where supposedly I was sitting there, crying, begging him not to fire me, I never got fired," Heller told TMZ.
"The insidiousness of defendants' behavior is underscored by the fact that the film may become the largest globally grossing music-story based film ever," reads his full complaint. "The larger the success of the film, the greater the damages to plaintiff." The Hollywood Reporter notes that Heller's attorney, Michael Shapiro, was "slapped with sanctions earlier this year for failing to serve the many defendants in a lawsuit over music used in The Steve Harvey Show." He also using an AOL email address, according to the document.