After shopping his story to major movie houses in Hollywood, “Freeway” Ricky Ross, has decided to go independent.
“I’ve met with almost everyone in Hollywood,” said Ross, who was a mastermind of the crack-cocaine trade in Los Angeles in the 1980s. “All of them wanted to do the story but they didn’t want to pay me. I don’t think that they really respect my value or the value of my story.”
The former drug pusher (real name: Donnell Ross) was a key figure in the documentary “American Drug War: The Last White Hope” and was featured in the first season of BET’s “American Gangster” series. Now Ross says he wants to tell the story his way.
Following his release in 2009 after serving 20 years in prison, Ross teamed up with Nick Cassavetes, an Emmy-award winning actor and writer who has penned the scripts for “Alpha Dog,” “Blow” and other films.
The two first met at a Walmart in San Diego, where Ross was living at a halfway house following his release from prison. Cassavetes said he had first learned of Ross following the late Gary Webb’s 1996 series called “Dark Alliance,” published by the San Jose Mercury News.
At the height of his drug career, Ross says he was moving about 100 kilos of coke every day. On average, he says he sold $2 million to $3 million a day.
“I want to present all sides of what actually happened,” said Cassavetes of the movie. “Not hearsay. Not rhetoric or hysteria. I want to let the audience decide whose to blame if anyone.”
While the autobiographical film will present a man operating outside of the law, causing havoc in largely African-American communities, Cassavetes says the movie will also explore the political ramifications of his actions.
Though Ross hasn’t yet asked Cassavetes to direct the motion picture, the filmmaker said he wants in. “If and when they come to me to direct, I’ll be there with bells on,” he said.
The script, which is in its final stages, will be complete before Christmas, said Cassavetes. Produced in conjunction with Geno Taylor and Apocalypto films, shooting of the film is tentatively set to begin in April. Cassavetes says he hopes the movie will be in theaters sometime next year.
After being on lock for so long, one can become institutionalized. Sometimes to survive in prison, one must become the prison. But when making the transition to civilian, you must become reprogrammed. Just like a computer, you must input the information or software onto your hard drive – then you have to become familiar with the operation of this new information and make it work to your advantage. Without being properly prepared for the outside while still inside can cause anxiety for a future which can be frightening.
That revolving door which is so commonly spoken of in reference to recently released inmates or parolees can be eliminated with proper preparation, education, and awareness. I’ve often heard elders saying, “you gotta use what you’ve got to get what you want.” In prison I had accesses to the library. I read everything that would help me in the direction in which I was going. I decided that I was the master of my own destiny and solely in control of my fate and future. Life is a blank book in which you are the author. Write what you wish. The calm man, having learned how to govern himself, knows how to adapt himself to others.
There are several books I personally recommend that can begin to point you in the right direction;
1. As A Man thinketh by James Allen
2. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
3. Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
Read any business orientated books you can get your hands on. You must begin to create a new self. Do not expect to create a new self once exiting prison – the transition must begin before you exit. The halfway house is not designed for your rehabilitation nor re-assimilation back into society, the halfway house can be a stressful situation just like prison: they keep tabs on you, monitor you whereabouts, and seem to shadow your every move. The food is actually better in prison. You can’t let that distract you from your goals.
Even from the halfway house, I’ve been in meetings with the presidents of Universal, Sony Pictures, and others. We at Freeway Enterprise are currently in negotiations with UMG about a record label deal. Right now, were accepting material from Rap and R&B, to Blues, Gospel and Pop. Be on the lookout for my upcoming movie by Taylor and Ross, and my new show. Even though I haven’t been out long I’ve made the most of my time.
Life is going good for me. I’m taking my time learning this new technology as I navigate through this dot com world. Set your own pace, and run your own race on your own terms.