Antoine Fuqua on Suge Knight, a dispatch from Telluride and more

Antoine Fuqua adds new chapter to Suge Knight doc after rap mogul's shooting

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Marion "Suge" Knight was reportedly shot six times on Aug. 24 at a club in West Hollywood. The rap music mogul is the subject of a Showtime documentary being directed by Antoine Fuqua.

Antoine Fuqua

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Director Antoine Fuqua and The Frame host John Horn pose together after their interview at NPR West.


Director Antoine Fuqua — who is making a documentary for Showtime on rap mogul Suge Knight — at first thought Knight had been killed when he first got word of Knight's shooting on Aug. 24.

Speaking to KPCC's The Frame, Fuqua said, "I was in New York. I just finished 'Southpaw,' and I had just spoken to Suge that morning about grabbing dinner when I got back to finish talking about the doc and catch up on things. By the time I landed, I got a ton of calls that said he was shot. The first call I got said he was dead, because he was shot six times. That's what I was told. I spoke to a few of his close people, and they said that he'll survive it and that he's OK. I didn't want to know much more than that, really; I just wanted to make sure the guy was OK. I wouldn't wish that on anybody."

Fuqua is best known for directing high-octane action films such as “Training Day,” "Shooter" and "Olympus Has Fallen."

He recently re-teamed with Denzel Washington for “The Equalizer,” which opens in late September. He also just wrapped the boxing drama “Southpaw” with Jake Gyllenhaal, which will be out next year.

While working on those feature films, he’s been making his documentary about Knight. Knight, the controversial co-founder of Death Row Records, was in the news after he was shot multiple times at a West Hollywood club.

Knight is recovering from surgery and is expected to survive. 

We asked Fuqua about how he heard about the shooting, and he explains the intended message of his Suge Knight documentary:

 

On why he wanted to do a documentary about Knight:

"It's been two or three years that I've been working on this documentary with Suge. When I got involved with the Tupac Shakur movie at that time, ... what I found interesting was that these young guys — Dr. Dre, Snoop, Suge, all of them — they achieved quite a bit. Everything you hear has been negative, even up to now on Suge's part. When I first met Suge, one of the conversations I had with Suge was, it'll be good to just tell your own story. Not to bash anybody else, not to say anything negative about it, just tell your story about how you achieved that and how you lost a lot."

On the difficult message of his unfinished doc:

"Young kids today who want to be music producers and moguls, they only see the flash, and they're forgetting about the downfall. I thought there's an obligation for [Knight] to explain how he did it, so they can understand how they can achieve it as well, and how he lost it, so they can understand what not to do. It's just that it's a difficult thing to do; there's a lot of layers and a lot of people who just want it to go away. They want the past to go away. But I do still feel like there's an obligation to a lot of young people, a generation, to just understand what really happened. What happened to Tupac? How did they lose that? They built a company that I think was worth $800 million, Death Row Records, they did it. All of them.

On Knight reaching, then losing hold of the American Dream:

"No matter whether they all get along now or not doesn't matter, because they did a great thing as far as the American Dream. They achieved it. Some of them continued on, like Dre's doing fantastic, and he should — he's a talented guy. Snoop is doing well. Suge seems to be the only one who's still going through more drama constantly.

"I was so just curious of why, and I wanted to find out, how do you stop that? How do you stop it? Because that's all we see. The more that happens, the more these young people like Michael Brown, the young kid that was just murdered — somehow for me it all bleeds into the music and the world and the image that we project. And maybe if we can explain some of it, maybe some young kids will understand. Maybe some cops will understand it.

"It was a moment in time where these young rappers, these young moguls, including Jay-Z's company, him and Damon Dash. They did some fantastic things. There was Murder, Inc. They built these companies, and they were worth hundreds of millions of dollars. And where are they now? Besides Jay-Z. ...What happened to Murder, Inc? What happened to Damon Dash? We know what's going on with Suge because he's always in the press. Showtime, they've been really patient, man. I have to get this to them, and I was to get it done and get it out there, too. I think it's important."


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