Actor Jason Mitchell shares his philosophy to staying relevant and avoiding getting typecast in Hollywood.
Actor Jason Mitchell was an unknown actor before shocking and amazing audiences portraying N.W.A. rapper Eazy-E in “Straight Outta Compton,” and he has since appeared in a variety of successful movies and shows including “Keanu,” “Mudbound,” “Kong: Skull Island,” and “The Disaster Artist” and Showtime’s “The Chi.”
Project Casting posted casting calls for aspiring actors to audition for the leading roles in the N.W.A. movie. Casting calls were being held nationwide from Los Angeles all the way to Atlanta. After several nationwide casting calls, casting directors chose their modern-day version of N.W.A.
According to the NYPost, Jason Mitchell was a struggling New Orleans actor with no acting experience when he submitted an audition tape to play rapper Eazy-E in “Straight Outta Compton,” the biopic about the 1980s rap group N.W.A.
THE ACTOR STUDIED VIDEO FOOTAGE OF EAZY (NÉ ERIC WRIGHT) AND LISTENED TO HIS MUSIC UNTIL HE COULD MIMIC THE LATE RAPPER’S SPEECH AND MANNERISMS. DIRECTOR F. GARY GRAY LIKED WHAT HE SAW, AND ASKED MITCHELL TO LOS ANGELES FOR A CALLBACK AUDITION.
But, he nearly lost the role of a lifetime after he was unable to pay for a plane ticket to Los Angeles. He needed $1,500 to attend the callback. Luckily, the movie’s director settled for a Skype audition instead.
Jason Mitchell only started acting five years ago. “To be honest, acting was something where I got a chance to be somebody else and forget about the situation I was in,” he says. “I got caught up in the drug scene like a lot of my friends. We were making mistakes.”
Recently, Mitchell spoke to Collider to promote his new movie “The Mustang” and reflected on his image and career, especially on how he avoids getting typecast:
“I definitely feel like I have a lot more to show, but I definitely feel like I’m on the right track, too. I have 67 tattoos and I didn’t start acting ‘til I was 23 years old, so a part of me feels like I’m gonna get pigeonholed and typecast, and they’re always gonna keep me in that box because this is how I look, this is where I come from, and this is how I talk. So, after I did Compton, I was like, ‘You know what? I need to show everybody that I’m a 17-layer cake. I got faces on faces on faces, that you have not seen of me.’ And I feel like every role that I picked had to be different because I just knew, after I played Eazy-E, that they would call me for all the gangster roles. They called me to be Eazy-E, in every other movie. I was like, ‘Oh, man, I gotta make sure I don’t get crushed like this.’ Every person I play, I try to make them from a different world and have them be somebody different.”