*After N.W.A.’s former manager Jerry Heller sued NBCUniversal, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy E’s widow Tomica Woods-Wright for inaccurately portraying him as a villain in their film “Straight Outta Compton,” the judge asked Heller to get specific. …In other words, point out individual lines in the film that support his accusations of defamation.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, attorneys for the film’s studio NBCUniversal are now asking the court to watch the film in its entirety, to put the statements Heller claims are defamatory into proper context.
Fitzgerald has found Heller is a “limited purpose public figure.” So to prove defamation, Heller will have to prove defendants either knew the information was false or acted with a reckless disregard of the truth.
Heller claims each of the defendants knew the truth and intentionally misrepresented the facts in the film to make it more interesting and profitable — and for some it was unwarranted payback. Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy E’s widow, Tomica Woods-Wright, “had a misguided abundance of anger and hostility toward Heller because they wrongly blamed Heller for breaking up N.W.A.,” he claims.
“Allegations regarding putative motives of ‘anger and hostility’ as a matter of law do not constitute circumstantial evidence of actual malice,” replies Universal.
Heller is also suing Woods-Wright, for breaching a non-disparagement clause in a settlement from a previous lawsuit, and is still pursuing a copyright infringement claim, alleging the film is based on a screenplay that is based on his 2006 book “Ruthless.”