Despite much criticism the film faced due to its glossing over of Dr. Dre’s history of violence against women, “Straight Outta Compton” was a box office smash, grossing over $200 million worldwide, and was the 19th highest grossing movie domestic earner for all of 2015, according to Box Office Mojo.
One of the victim’s of Dre’s past abuse – singer Michel’le, who spoke publicly about the physical and emotional violence she endured during her six-year relationship with the hip-hop mogul – is going to tell her own story on film, as a scripted made-for-TV movie.
The Lifetime movie network officially picked up the film earlier this year, and has announced today that the film will premiere on Saturday, October 15 at 8PM ET/PT.
The network also retitled the film – “Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Me” (it was previously called simply “The Michel’le Story”) – and has released an early promo/teaser which is embedded at the bottom of this post (emphasis on the word teaser).
The film stars Rhyon Nicole Brown (“For Better or Worse,” “Lincoln Heights”), playing Michel’le; relative newcomer Curtis Hamilton (“Castle”) plays Dr. Dre; and R. Marcos Taylor will reprise his role as Suge Knight (he played Knight in “Straight Outta Compton” as well).
Producing for Lifetime is Sony Pictures Television and Thinkfactory Media, with Leslie Greif executive producing.
When asked for her thoughts on “Straight Outta Compton” soon after the movie’s release, Michel’le said that she wasn’t outraged that her abusive relationship with Dre was not depicted in the film: “I’m not upset that they didn’t put me in the movie… It’s their movie, right? Their money.”
She added: “I was his fiancée… He told me he loved me, so I don’t think I understood it, but he was abusive, mentally and physically… I didn’t know any better, because my father never told me he loved me. When you find a guy that wants to be with you all the time, you think that’s love, right? I had to make my own world.”
Michel’le has stated publicly that during their relationship, Dre kicked her and broke her ribs, sending her to the hospital, injuring her in such a way that her ribs never did entirely heal. “I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat on and told to sit down and shut up,” she said.
In response to Dre’s public apology last year, Michel’le replied: “I didn’t ask for a public apology and I think if he is going to apologize he should do it individually.”
Former TV host Dee Barnes also spoke about her experiences with Dre, penning an essay for Gawker, specifically detailing his brutal assault on her in 1991 – an incident that also isn’t depicted in “Straight Outta Compton.”
The Lifetime movie project re-teams Michel’le and Thinkfactory Media, who previously collaborated with her on TV Ones’s hit series, “R&B Divas LA.”
“I am so excited about my partnership with Thinkfactory Media. For many years I was unwilling to share my personal experiences. I am now ready to open up about my career, relationships and family,” stated Michel’le Toussant. “I am confident that Thinkfactory Media will give an accurate depiction of my life and this tumultuous yet amazing journey I’ve been on.”
“Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le” is produced for Lifetime by Sony Pictures Television and Thinkfactory Media. Leslie Greif executive produces. The film also furthers Lifetime’s Broad Focus mission of hiring and supporting female creatives behind the camera, with writing by Dianne Houston (“Take The Lead”), directing by Janice Cooke (“One Tree Hill,” “UnREAL”), costumes by Jonetta Boon (“The Notebook”), casting by Fern Champion (“Hatfields & McCoys”), Leah Daniels (“Empire”) and Sharon Lieblein (“Million Dollar Quartet”), and composing by Kathryn Bostic (“Dear White People”), among others.
Below, watch the previously-released promo/teaser for “Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Me.”