James McAvoy to direct film about Scottish rapper hoax

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Glasgow actor James McAvoy will make his directorial debut with a film based on two hoax rappers from Dundee.

While directing the feature film, McAvoy will also take on a supporting role. BAFTA nominated actor Samuel Bottomley and newcomer Séamus McLean Ross, currently filming Outlander: Blood of My Blood, will take on the title roles.

Currently titled California Schemin’ , the film will chart the true story of Silibil N' Brains, a Scottish rap duo that conned the international music industry by adopting American accents and pretending to be established Californian rap artists.

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Gavin Bain, from Dundee, and Billy Boyd, from Arbroath, met while students and tried to secure a record deal in the mid-2000s, but were laughed out of a London audition by promoters who branded them “the rapping Proclaimers”.

Returning to Dundee, humiliated but still convinced of their talent, they reinvented themselves as Californian hip-hop duo Silibil n’ Brains, adopting American accents and a fake back story. The ruse worked and they were lauded by the London hip hop scene as the real deal. They secured a record deal, a hefty sum in advances, continuing the deception for three years.

Currently in pre-production, the feature is based on Bain’s autobiography of the same name, which was later re-printed as Straight Outta Scotland. The story was later adapted into 2013 documentary The Great Hip Hop Hoax.

McAvoy said: “I’m proud to announce that for my directorial debut I will be telling the true Scottish story of Silibil ‘n’ Brains. California Schemin’ is as rooted in the California rap scene of the early 2000’s as it is in the working-class Scottish setting where our story begins.

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“With California Schemin’ I’ll be telling a story about friendship, rap and glorious failure that has the potential to move, shock and entertain. Adapted by Archie Thompson we have a script that brilliantly captures the desperation, bravery, talent and sheer con artist genius of our Scottish rapping duo Silibil’n’Brains while with Samuel Bottomley and Seamus McClean Ross we have two special young actors who I feel privileged to be telling this story with on my debut feature.”

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