January 5, 1987
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
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In just five years' time, actor Jason Mitchell went from complete unknown to an in-demand performer and character actor thanks to his riveting turn as rapper Eazy-E in "Straight Outta Compton" (2015). Born January 5, 1987 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mitchell spent much of his childhood in transit due to his mother's military career. They eventually settled in the New Orleans neighborhood of Hollygrove, where he attended Alcee Fortier High School. Like many of the city's residents, his family lost their home in the devastating wake of Hurricane Katrina, and Mitchell took a series of jobs to help in the rebuilding process. For a time, he was also involved in the drug trade, but the death of his friend in 2007 forced Mitchell to reassess his priorities. He soon began taking acting classes, and soon earned an agent, which led to minor roles in films shot in New Orleans, including 2011's "Texas Killing Fields" and "Broken City" (2013) with Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg. Mitchell also caught the attention of a casting agent who was conducting a national search for relative unknowns to play the members of N.W.A. His height and energy put him in the running for the role, and after auditioning for director F. Gary Gray via Skype, Mitchell was cast as Eric "Eazy-E" Wright, the business-minded co-founder of the iconic hip-hop act. Mitchell's performance, which followed the musician's arc from street dealer and best-selling artist to the health struggles which ended his life in 1995, won considerable critical praise, and led to supporting roles in "Keanu" (2015), a comedy vehicle for Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, and the Barack Obama biopic "Barry" (2016). The following year, he played a helicopter pilot in the hit creature feature, "Kong: Skull Island," and followed this with a supporting turn in "The Disaster Artist" (2017), a comedy about the making of the accidental cult hit "The Room" (2003).