EXCLUSIVE: DJ Screw Biopic Still In Development, Project Will Tell More Of His Love Story + Addresses Codeine Drug Abuse & Police Brutality
Late Houston, Texas DJ/chopped and screwed icon – Robert “DJ Screw” Davis, Jr.‘s story is being told. Recently, a trailer leaked for a biopic titled All Screwed Up. The film is commemorating the 20-year anniversary of his death. As illustrated in the trailer, the project will showcase his journey to music superstardom, his run-ins with police brutality, and his tragic succumb to codeine addiction. Writer Shannan E. Johnson dished on the All Screwed Up team’s development of the project.
Shannan Johnson commented:
“The DJ Screw Project is in development, in which it hasn’t been confirmed yet as a film…The director, Isaac Yowman of IYO Visuals, had the idea to develop this project in 2017.”
She detailed their team’s writing process:
“Writing a biopic can be difficult because at the end of the day, we’re telling a fictionalized story based on DJ Screw, but we also want to hold true to who he is. Screw was known as a quiet genius…I’m interested in getting to the heart of Houston. Houston, in itself, is a character. The way we speak, the cars we drive, the jewelry on our teeth. DJ Screw’s affect on hip hop is the foundation of the story. He affected many lives and those people also have stories to tell. We’re doing this for the people and to put The H on the map…That gives me the challenge of learning and understanding what was underneath that quiet and make it manifest on the screen in an entertaining way. Challenge accepted.”
DJ Screw’s family and friends have been active in the developmental process:
“Our producer/director had many phone calls with Screw’s family and members of the SUC and Swisha House…DJ Screw’s sister, Michelle Wheeler provided IYO the official stamp of approval to begin this project in 2019. She has been a force in the development of the story, [as well as his] brother Charles and cousin Bub Spelling…Oftentimes, Lil Keke came to set to ensure that the actors fully encapsulated their characters.”
DJ Screw’s experience with police brutality is generational, according to Shannan E. Johnson:
“What we’ll find is that as times change they stay the same. Police brutality and racial profiling goes back to slavery. Slave owners became law enforcement. So to some extent, black people are still treated like property and given consequences if we don’t obey commands…or simply for just existing. I look forward to telling the stories of Houstonians who have experienced this with HPD; Screw being one of them.”
On how DJ Screw’s story will warn against the dangers of drug abuse:
“Like the Northside and Southside beef that led to violence in Houston, it will be hard for us to talk about Screw, or Houston for that matter, and not discuss the drug abuse of codeine. It was a part of the scene just like other drugs are in many hip hop artists’ studio sessions today. The point is to show that it existed and played a role without glorifying it. Good storytelling allows the audience to come to their own conclusions.”
Shannan Johnson hopes “All Screwed Up” will translate as a love story:
“It’s my hope to tell more of his love story to his partner and ride-or-die Nikki and to show more of his and other Screwed Up Click and Swisha House members’ home lives. We know a lot about the DJ and the rappers, but I want to dig deep into the people…Houston stood up! Screwheads have spoken! They are excited to see DJ Screw and Houston get their just due.”
All Screwed Up is still in development with no pending release date.
Are you excited about the on-screen adaptation of DJ Screw’s life story? Let us know in the comments.
Written by Miata Shanay