Two years ago, Afeni Shakur-Davis (mother of Tupac and owner of Amaru Entertainment) came to blows with executives of Morgan Creek Films. The battle over the intricacies of the prearranged biopic of Tupac Shakur grew to new heights. Fortunately, both sides settled on a deal that best fit both parties. Still, the beginning stage of the project has yet to finalize.
Tupac Shakur was lost to a world of family, friends and fans alike on September 13, 1996. Often characterized similarly to his zodiac counterpart — the twins of Gemini — is perhaps the reason why the biopic has been subjected to so many delays.
Tupac is far from a simple ‘pick and choose’ when it comes to casting for this on-screen interpretation. Behind those beautiful brown eyes laid the everlasting and transforming of thoughts from revolutionary and inspiring to troublesome and problematic. But his main three embodiments are not the easiest to capture in your every day being: talent, charisma, and spontaneous outbursts of spite.
Anthony Mackie, who played the counter role of Shakur in the 2009 biopic Notorious, is said to have been considered and abandoned. On the same token, a director for the anticipated movie has also yet to be solidified.
Initially, the peace deal was entrusted alongside Antoine Fuqua, (Training Day, Brooklyn’s Finest) but has since disseminated. It’s been rumored that Fuqua backed out from the job after failing to find the convincing star for their leading role. The team even went so far as launching a nationwide talent search earlier this year, to no avail.
Now, hopes are high that the next best man to conclude the job will be John Singleton. Singleton directed Shakur in the 1993 hit Poetic Justice alongside co-star Janet Jackson. Instead of replaying the violent past with the directors Albert and Allen Hughes that landed him in jail, Tupac shot past Singleton in a friendly race on the street, obviously more bonded and at ease. The connection between the two may help play a factor in Singleton accepting, starting and finishing this project to the best of his abilities.
Beyond the delays, a lot is riding on the successful production of this movie. With only four studio albums, Tupac Shakur has sold over 75 million albums worldwide, 35 million belonging to the United States alone.
The story of the Notorious B.I.G was directed by George Tillman, Jr. Although it received criticism for factual chronology and omitted facets of his life, the movie accomplished a remarkable feat in which Tupac’s biopic is struggling — they found the perfect “Biggie” in Jamal Woolard who looks, walks, and even sounds like the now deceased hip-hop legend Christopher Wallace.
The similarities made the acting process appear more effortless than staged. And given the drama already overcome in the pre-production of Shakur’s movie, I would guess that the writers of this biopic (Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, and Steve Bagatourian) are gunning for much less noise than in the aftermath of Tillman’s finished product.
While so many characters from the movie are still alive and fairly young today, there comes in to play different perspectives and opinions on how certain situations actually took place. Lil’ Kim, known as the number one successful protégé of Biggie and coincidentally his mistress to wife Faith, feuded with her and Voletta Wallace — Biggie’s mother — over her character’s portrayal by actress Naturi Naughton.
In addition, another female rapper — Charli Baltimore — expressed her disdain for having her long-time relationship with Biggie having been completely ignored and disregarded altogether. With Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur-Davis as executive producer, it’s very possible for similar disputes to occur again.
In the aftermath of it all, Notorious was successful amongst the hip-hop community because so many people admired and respected the Notorious B.I.G. and his legacy. Similarly in Tupac Shakur, the story is just as respected and as popular, but the interest is almost ten times more.
Tupac, who lived a life of uncertainty from “Thug Life” to “Brenda’s got a Baby” to “Hit Em’ Up” had such rivaling aspects of his personality that his story is one that fans have been dreaming to see on the screen for years. A well executed delivery is vital to his important placement in history.
I’m just praying that Tupac will be tossing in his grave to “Dear Mama” rather than “Hail Mary!”