John was accepted into USC, and one day, an executive from Orion Pictures came to talk to one of his classes. John told the guy he didn’t like that the movie Colors wasn’t about South Central Los Angeles, so much as it was about two white cops. The exec naively replied, “Well, Ice T wrote the music for the film,” to which John said, “Well, Ice T didn’t write the friggin’ script!” His class erupted in applause.
Suddenly, John was on a mission. Summer of 84 evolved into the script for Boyz N the Hood, and he began shopping it. Columbia Pictures loved it but didn’t want him to direct the movie, offering him $100,000 to let someone else do it. John turned it down, saying “Hell, no, I’m not gonna let somebody from Idaho or Encino direct a movie about living in South Central Los Angeles. They can’t come in here and cast it and go through the rewrites and know exactly what aesthetics are unique to this film.”
And it was on. At age 23 he made a powerful, classic film.
It really sucks John died yesterday. We need people like him.