Before the N.W.A. bio-pic Straight Outta Compton became a surprise hit film at the box office this summer, there were questions as to how the filmmakers would handle the some of the group members’ controversial life events, or actions, onscreen.
But, according to the Los Angeles Times, “The biggest question, however, was how the film would address a well-known incident in the history of N.W.A — Dr. Dre’s physical assault of female hip-hop journalist Denise “Dee” Barnes.”
And, the answer was easy: the filmmakers cut that scene from the film.
But, in an earlier version of the screen play by Jonathan Herman, the altercation between Barnes and Dr. Dre was depicted, and that scene reads, as follows, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In this draft of the screenplay that’s surfaced, there is a scene that depicts a drunk Dr. Dre approaching Barnes at a party, and said, “Saw that [expletive] you did with Cube. Really had you under his spell, huh? Ate up everything he said. Let him diss us. Sell us out.”
“I just let him tell his story,” Barnes’ character retorts, “That’s what I do. It’s my job.”
“I thought we were cool, you and me,” Dre fires back. “But you don’t give a [expletive]. You just wanna laugh at N.W.A, make us all look like fools.”
From there, things between the two escalate, Barnes throws her drink in his face; then, Dre attacks her “flinging her around like a rag-doll, while she screams, cries, begs for him to stop.”
Dr. Dre later pleaded no contest on the charges that Barnes brought against him, and he was given probation.
While this scene is one of a handful that had to be cut from the original three and a half hour film, its omission has struck a chord with viewers. At one pre-release screening, a viewer asked why this dramatic assault was not depicted, and Gray revealed that this – and other scenes – had been discussed at the beginning, but the filmmakers and producers left out a number of narratives in order to focus tightly on the group, itself.
“There are so many things that you can add or subtract. Cube always said, ‘You can make five different N.W.A movies.’ We made the one we wanted to make.”
Stereogum points out that Dr. Dre addressed the previous assault allegations he faced – including the ones relating to the physical abuse of his ex-fiancee, R&B singer, Miche’le – in a recent interview with Rolling Stone.
He told the magazine:
“I made some fucking horrible mistakes in my life. I was young, fucking stupid. I would say all the allegations aren’t true – some of them are. Those are some of the things that I would like to take back. It was really fucked up. But I paid for those mistakes, and there’s no way in hell that I will ever make another mistake like that again.”
For her part, Barnes wrote a lengthy piece that was published by Gawker, in which she addressed the 1991 attack. And, she also took the opportunity to share her reaction regarding the film, which the Los Angeles Times reports, Barnes “criticized for its ‘revisionist history.’”
“I didn’t want to see a depiction of me getting beat up,” Barnes wrote in the Gawker piece. “But what should have been addressed is that it occurred.”