Straight Outta Compton has sparked an interest in hip-hop biopics like never before. One of the newest rap stories to hit the screen is Roxanne, Roxanne, the story of pioneering MC Roxanne Shante.

The movie debuts at the Sundance Film Festival, which is currently going on in Park City, Utah, and follows the turbulent upbringing of the teen rap star and Juice Crew member. The film is co-produced Forest Whitaker's Significant Productions and Pharrell Williams' I Am Other, who also partnered on the 2015 film Dope. It stars Shante Adams as the 1980s rapper and also features roles from Nia Long and Mahershala Ali (Luke Cage, Moonlight).

Ali plays the role of an abusive boyfriend in the film, and found one scene particularly difficult to go through with. "Mahershala told me, 'This has been one of the most difficult parts I've ever had to play.  I'm having a hard time sleeping because of what your character goes through because of me,'" Shante, born Lolita Gooden, recently told Rolling Stone. "So how do I react to that? Do I say, 'Oh good, so that means you're feeling the part!'" she says with a laugh. "Or do I hug him? So what I wind up doing was just hugging him and saying, 'Well, you know what, it turned out good after all.'"

Gooden's story is an important one in the history of hip-hop. During the mid-1980s she emerged on the rap scene as a 14-year-old spitfire who was heavily involved in the famed The Bridge Wars between KRS-One's Boogie Down Productions and Marly Marl's Juice Crew.

Flying Lotus and Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys also have films debuting at the festival.


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