It’s been a long while since we’ve received an update on the in-development Tupac Shakur biopic. Last year, the project issued an open casting call to find an actor capable of invoking the essence of the iconic rapper, but we’ve seen little movement since then.
The film – titled simply Tupac – had already snagged Academy Award-nominated duo Stephen J. Rivele and Chris Wilkinson to write the script. The writing team had previously tackled biopic material with Michael Mann’s Ali, which earned Will Smith his first Oscar nod for his portrayal of boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
According to Deadline, Michael Starrbury has now been brought on to rewrite the script. Starrbury’s most recent credit is the indie film The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete. That film premieres later this month at the Sundance Film Festival and follows two small boys forced to survive the streets alone.
Starrbury’s experience is comprised largely of a TV movie and a pair of shorts, making him an unlikely candidate to pen the life story of one of music history’s most influential hip hop artists. However, the growing interest in Mister and Pete – along with the urban setting of that film – certainly bodes well for his prospects with Tupac.
The decision to bring him on to rewrite the film is almost definitely an attempt by the filmmakers to ensure that Tupac retains an indie sensibility. Everything about the production – from its open casting call to its hiring of Starrbury – demonstrates that the intention here is to make the film as autenthic as possible. Only time will tell if this goal is achieved, but the simple fact that this appears to be the goal is encouraging.
Starrbury is currently adapting graphic novel The Great Unknown for New Line. There’s no indication yet on when he would begin writing Tupac or when the film might be released. Antoine Fuqua is (as far as we know) still set to direct the film, which counts Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur among its producers.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for additional details on Tupac as this story develops.