‘Straight Outta Compton’ Star Jason Mitchell on How He Landed Eazy-E Role: ‘I Brought the Rain’ (Video)

Hollywood newcomer tells TheWrap trying out for the part was his “best casting audition ever”

Jason Mitchell had a feeling “Straight Outta Compton” would be special. But he never imagined the biopic about the rise and fall of gangsta rap group N.W.A would shatter box office records and become a mega-success.

“I think it really snowballed into something incredible,” Mitchell told TheWrap. “‘Straight Outta Compton’ is not a story we didn’t know about or anything like that, but it’s just something that resonated really well… It had no choice but to explode.”

Mitchell plays Eazy-E, one of N.W.A’s founding members. The actor said he saw the film six or seven times before it hit theaters on Aug. 14, but he didn’t expect it to be a critical darling or become a contender in the awards race. The Universal release currently has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 88 percent and has received several awards nominations, including a Screen Actor’s Guild nod for Best Ensemble.

“I never, ever thought that we would be nominated for awards and all this stuff would happen,” he said. “I knew that we had done our best after we finished it, so I can’t completely be like, ‘I’m super surprised,’ but I am, I’m completely surprised because I felt like we did our best but I didn’t know the world would love it.”

Eazy-E, who was born Eric Wright in Compton, California, dealt drugs and used his earnings to fund N.W.A’s first album. He eventually had a falling out with the group, went on to perform solo, and died of AIDS in 1995. It was a taxing role that required a wide range of emotions.

New Orleans native Mitchell said his journey toward landing the part was his “best casting audition ever.”

“I brought the rain, I cried, I did all kinds of stuff,” Mitchell said. Because he couldn’t fly out to do a call-back audition, he had his second audition on Skype — and booked the part right there.

Watch the video.