A movie about the life of rapper/actor/activist/controversial figure Tupac Shakur has been in the works for as long as the man himself has been dead – which is to say, as long as some current college students have been alive. But unlike the long span of time that has preceded it, it seems like now the project is actually happening.
In late 2013 we learned that Morgan Creek Productions will back Emet/Furla/Oasis Films (2 Guns, Escape Plan) in financing the Tupac movie, and that production will start in early 2014. To that end, a director has been chosen for the film, and it is someone whose name has long been attached.
Variety reports that John Singleton will rewrite, produce and direct the Tupac biopic for Morgan Creek. Singleton has of course directed films as varied as Boyz n The Hood and 2 Fast 2 Furious and has long wanted to tackle the Tupac biopic – as he makes clear in a statement about helming the film:
“Tupac was the guy who I planned to do a lifetime of films with. His passing deeply affected my life as well as countless people in this world. His life story is as important to my generation.”
The Tupac biopic has had a hard road to the screen – including a long legal battle with Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur over rights to the film. A few years ago, it almost got made with Olympus Has Fallen director Antoine Fuqua at the helm; but now the project is entirely in Singleton’s hands, for better or worse.
There will be a fair amount of skepticism regarding the choice in director – and not without reason. Singleton has not directed many feature films in the 21st century (just five) and his only film in the last half-decade was the Taylor Lautner vehicle, Abduction. Take that as you will.
On the other hand, Singleton was one of the THE African-American filmmakers of the 1990s, the era in which Tupac was a reigning icon. Singleton also knew the man himself; they worked together on the 1993 film Poetic Justice, a vehicle for both Shakur and Janet Jackson, his leading lady.
Could this project be a sort of reinvigorating comeback for Singleton AND an accomplished piece of cinema dedicated to Tupac’s life and career?
Until they actually cast the actor to play the man, the jury is still out. But Singleton is an interesting place to start.
We’ll keep you updated on the status of the Tupac biopic.