All Eyes On Him: The Tupac Shakur Biopic Is On The Way
Whenever we experience loss, it permeates an everlasting void in the fabric of our lives. One of the greatest losses the music world has endured happened on Wednesday September 13, 1996 when hip-hop legend, Tupac Amaru Shakur lost his life to multiple gunshot wounds he suffered from an unknown assailant in Las Vegas, NV. He was only 25.
Morgan Creek Productions has recently received the green light to film a biopic of the rapper’s brilliant yet tumultuous life. Last year, the project was postponed due to litigation involving the rapper’s mother and former Black Panther Party member, Afeni Shakur. The film is set to begin production in September.
The untitled project will be directed by Antoine Faqua. Faqua is responsible for directing the 2001 award-winning smash, Training Day, which starred Denzel Washington and earned the veteran actor an Oscar for his leading role. Faqua has also directed many music videos, including Prince’s “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” and Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise.”
Fans and viewers alike will be interested in comparing the differences between Tupac’s biopic to that of his friend-turned-rival, slain rapper, Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Williams’ hugely successful 2009 biopic, Notorious.
The two rappers are not only prodigies of music history but lyrical enemies. As is widely known, the two spearheaded and participated in the most controversial coast-to-coast rivalry in hip-hop, which many posit ultimately led to their untimely demises.
In Notorious, Tupac is portrayed by actor Anthony Mackie (8 Mile and The Hurt Locker). But do not expect an award-winning actor to be playing Tupac in the rapper’s upcoming biopic.
According to Faqua, he is looking for an unknown actor to portray the star. In a recent interview with Digital Spy, Faqua stated:
“That’s the goal; I want to discover someone new. I want to discover a lot of new people if I can. Obviously I’m going to have to put some people in it that [people] know, just because actors have different skills. I want to go to the streets and find him anywhere he might be in the world.”
It has been more than a decade since the assassination of Tupac and as to who is responsible still remains a mystery. As a result, many speculations and theories have emerged concerning his death, many of which stem from the acrimony that once existed between the rapper and The Notorious B.I.G.
It goes without saying that this makes Tupac’s life and story all the more compelling. Yet it’s unclear as to how Faqua will interpret and include any of the above in the upcoming film.
In the meantime, Tupac’s legacy will continue to live on through his music. His classic hit, “Dear Mama,” from 1995′s Me Against the World, is one of 24 songs being preserved in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for its cultural significance. The rapper’s masterpiece will be revered alongside the works of Bill Cosby, R.E.M., Willie Nelson, Little Richard, and others in this extraordinary honor.
Also, fans can expect to hear new music from the inspirational figure later this year. His label, Death Row Records (now acquired by Canadian imprint, Wideawake Entertainment), will be releasing unreleased music from the rapper this Christmas. Death Row’s new President, John Payne recently spoke to Vibe Magazine about Tupac’s upcoming album:
“This is unreleased Tupac…no remastering or remixing. The songs are from a collection of tracks that were recorded during his Death Row days around All Eyez On Me. I believe that these songs could have been Tupac’s next record if he were still alive.”
A resilient rapper, prolific poet, and martyr of sorts, Tupac was and still remains a man who is much more than rap. He serves as a voice for the voiceless. From single mothers suffering to make ends meet to the racially profiled and everyone in between, Tupac is the essence of urban America and those who are products of it.
May Tupac Amaru Shakur continue to rest in power as all eyes will forever revel on the extraordinary life and times of an incomparably gifted genius.