Menace II Society is a classic teen drama from the 1990s. The directorial debut of the Hughes Brothers (Dead Presidents, The Book Of Eli), the film highlighted the realities of life for Black teenagers in a post-Rodney King LA. The film's cast featured a wealth of big-name actors, Jada Pinkett-Smith among them. The film also featured Larenz Tate, Samuel L. Jackson, Clifton Powell, and Tyrin Turner in the lead role.
However, a recent interview from one-half of the directorial team has revealed some fascinating new information about the film's production. Allen Hughes, appearing on The Breakfast Club, spoke about who was meant to star in one of the lead roles. It also shed some light on the eventual breakup of N.W.A.
Eazy-E Was Cast And Later Dropped From "Menace II Society"
O-Dog is the best friend of Menace II Society's main character, Caine Lawson (Tyrin Turner). He is played by Larenz Tate (Power) to masterful perfection. However, the casting of Tate was not the production's first choice. According to Allen Hughes, Eazy-E of N.W.A fame was originally cast in the role. "We wrote that role for Eazy-E," Hughes said of O-Dog. Hughes and Eazy-E had a close relationship, with Hughes going as far as to call E his "mentor."
However, Eazy and his business manager Jerry Heller ultimately led to a production change. According to Hughes, E and Heller were overly demanding about changes to the script, eventually forcing the Brothers to find a new actor. They first turned to Ice Cube, who turned down the role for fear of being type-cast after Boyz In The Hood. Eventually, they settled on Tate. “I learned everything from Eazy, but one of the things with him and Jerry is they always try to keep you in a box and control you. And they were trying to control us in the script and I just had to move on, and it was for peanuts. I adore Eazy. He was so giving and so down-to-earth. By the way, great with his fans, too. Very patient with his fans. But I see why Cube left, I see why Dre left. There was a whole thing there.” Hughes said.