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Aldis Hodge, Edwin Hodge talk to CaliforniaRocker -Donna Balancia

As ‘Compton’ Retains B.O. Reign, Aldis Hodge Talks Role as Rapper M.C. Ren

By DONNA BALANCIA — Aldis Hodge says it’s the family bond that has enabled the successful careers of he and his brother, Edwin, for the last 25 years.

Aldis, who plays M.C. Ren in Straight Outta Compton, and his older brother were on hand at a recent premiere. Aldis spoke to CaliforniaRocker.com about work, family and the N.W.A.

Straight Outta Compton opened to $60 million in its debut and topped the box office again last weekend with an additional take of $27 million for a cumulative total of $111.4 million.

Hodge told CaliforniaRocker.com he’s excited about his latest project, Straight Outta Compton, the box office topper that tells the story of the rise of the N.W.A., considered one of the most influential rap groups, and considered instrumental in the Gangsta Rap genre.

“We grew up back East and we spent a lot of time here, too,” said Hodge, 28.  “We’ve been acting since we were very young, and we’re very fortunate to be working.”

Hodge said Straight Outta Compton, directed by F. Gary Gray, will help present the Gangsta Rap movement in a different light.

“You’re going to enjoy this film,” he said. “It’s more than a story about the music. It covers M.C. Ren’s life from the time he was young to present day.”

Keith Stanfield plays Snoop Dog, O’Shea Jackson Jr. plays Ice Cube, Jason Mitchell plays Easy-E and Corey Hawkins plays Dr. Dre.

“I think this film will get people to understand more about N.W.A.  MC Ren didn’t do drugs, and the N.W.A. were really about getting their music heard,” Hodge said. “But they did get wild, partying and all.  It’s pretty wild.”

The last screening of the film that Hodge saw ran close to 2.5 hours, he said.

Universal Pictures should be applauded not only to tackle some diverse and risky subject matter but also in keeping the production in Los Angeles.  Judging by the immense size of cast and crew this was no inexpensive proposition.

“The film was shot right here in L.A.,” Hodge said, “that made it authentic and it was convenient to get to work.”

As for his cast mates, he enjoyed working with them all but had some special words for Paul Giamatti, who plays Jerry Heller.

“He plays our manager, he’s just a monster in this,” Hodge said. “He gives an unbelievable performance.”

While sometimes it seems like it’s all a fabulous dream, Hodge is realistic about his work.

“You have to be prepared for the good times and the slow times also,” he said. “It’s all about family and we have good family around us, so we’re all right.”

Ed. note – This article was originally published on March 11, 2015 in CaliforniaRocker.com.

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