We All Die Young: The Cast And 5 Quick Things We Know About Daveed Diggs' Hip Hop Drama

Daveed Diggs in Blindspotting

Have you heard about Tony Award-winning multi-talented performer Daveed Diggs’ hip hop drama that is being compared to Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2? That might sound like some far-fetched idea from a writer’s notebook of odd, yet potentially great, ideas, but this is real and it is already getting a lot of traction.

Titled We All Die Young, the Jake Schreier-directed picture starring Justice Smith, Idris Elba, and Taylour Paige, will be coming your way at some point in the not-so-distant future, telling a story about a rapper at the crossroads of fame who is faced with a decision that not only could change his life, but also that of everyone else in his ecosystem. There’s not a whole lot of information at this point in time, but we do have some key details that you should know about We All Die Young.

Justice Smith on Generation; Idris Elba in Concrete Cowboy; Taylour Paige in Zola

The We All Die Young Cast Includes Justice Smith, Idris Elba And Taylour Paige

In the lead-up to the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2021, Deadline got the scoop on We All Die Young and its small (for now, at least), yet extremely talented cast, consisting of a diverse group of actors at various stages of their respective careers.

First is Justice Smith, the Pokémon: Detective Pikachu star who most recently appeared on the HBO Max original series Generation, and will soon return to action in Jurassic World: Dominion. In the upcoming hip hop drama, Smith will portray Marcus, a 25-year-old rapper who finds himself in a rather difficult position in terms of his career and life. Idris Elba, coming off The Suicide Squad, will play Marcus’ long-time mentor and father figure who also happens to own the record label that releases his albums. Taylour Paige, who made waves with her electric performance as the titular character in the 2021 based-on-true-events drama, Zola, will play a woman who comes into Marcus’ life and forces him to reevaluate his situation.

Justice Smith in Voyeurs

We All Die Young Centers On A Successful Rapper Experiencing A Midlife Crisis

When discussing We All Die Young with Deadline in September 2021, Daveed Diggs explained that the movie will center on Marcus, as the 25-year-old rapper who is right on the cusp of going from a successful hip hop artist to international superstar, and the impact this newfound status has on him as a person and performer. But, just as he’s reaching new heights in his career, Marcus falls into a creative funk that is preventing him from writing new material. Then, when Marcus begins to think about so many rappers who didn’t live to see the age of 30, he falls into the depths of a midlife crisis.

Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal in Blindspotting

The We All Die Young Script Was Written By Daveed Diggs And Chinaka Hodge

Although not stepping in to direct We All Die Young, Daveed Diggs, per Deadline, wrote the film’s script alongside Chinaka Hodge, who happens to be one of the founding members of Digg’s collaborative hip hop collective known as The Getback. This is just the latest high-profile production to be written in part by Chinaka Hodge, who was hired in April 2021 to serve as the head writer on the upcoming Marvel Disney+ series Ironheart, per Variety. Hodge recently wrote material for shows like Apple TV’s Amazing Stories and TNT’s Snowpiercer adaptation, which features Diggs in its cast. Diggs' previous writing credits include the 2018 drama Blindspotting, a film in which he also starred.

Justice Smith, Nat Wolff, and Austin Abrams in Paper Towns

Jake Schreier Is Set To Direct We All Die Young

Stepping in to handle the directing duties for We All Die Young will be Jake Schreier, whose film work includes the 2012 sci-fi comedy Robot and Frank and 2015’s Paper Towns. And, even though Schreier only has only directed two feature-length films, he brings with him years of experience as a music video director. Throughout his career, Scherier has directed videos for Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Chance the Rapper, and multiple other pop and hip hop stars. When talking about the film with Deadline, Daveed Diggs revealed that he and Schreier have known each other since their days at Berkeley High School, where they were even in a band together.

Marcello Mastroianni in 8 1/2

Daveed Diggs Described We All Die Young As Being Fellini's 8 ½ But Set In The Rap World

When speaking with Deadline about We All Die Young, Daveed Diggs turned to Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2 as a way in which to describe the upcoming film. In that 1963 fantasy drama, filmmaker Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) begins to experience a midlife crisis brought on by creative impotency while working on his latest film. As he slips into his fragile mental state, Guido becomes almost trapped in a fantastical world of memories. In addition to dealing with a creative crisis, the film will also touch on the fragility of life for young rappers, as Diggs put it:

It’s an artistic mid-life crisis, like in Fellini’s 8 ½, but in the world of these young rappers where you grow up so much faster and sometimes in the communities we come from, you don’t live much longer than 25 or 26. That crisis tends to come a lot earlier. That’s the part that hits home for me about today. We’re a really interesting place in the rap world. It feels wide open, the music is interesting and the personalities that are blowing up are so all over the board, but we’re not seeing a decrease in the fragility of the life of young Black men who participate in the culture. There are countless numbers of young rappers killed every year, by addiction, by gun violence, all sorts of ways. That’s one of the really interesting things about this, an artist trying to cope with his mortality, and what do you do with that? It’s not an uncommon art story, but I don’t think it has been seen before through this lens.

The idea of going through a midlife crisis at such a young is just as fascinating as it is sobering, which should help We All Die Young explore new ground with its approach to the subject.

Justice Smith in The Get Down

Production On We All Die Young Is Set To Get Underway In March 2022

Production on We All Die Young should start in March 2022, and as far as director Jason Scheier is concerned, he will be more than ready to get the cameras rolling. When speaking with Deadline, the filmmaker explained that he has already drawn the storyboards for every shot of the film and went even further by creating an animatic of the more complicated moments, though he did not reveal the nature of that scene.

There is still a lot about We All Die Young that we don’t quite know, especially a tentative release window for this intriguing film set in the rap world. In meantime, check out CinemaBlend’s updated schedule of 2021 movie releases.

Philip Sledge
Content Writer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.