Production is set to begin this September on the Tupac Shakur biopic directed by Antoine Fuqua (Shooter, Training Day) who asked Stephen J. Rivele and Chris Wilkinson (previous Oscar nominees for their screenplays Nixon and Ali) to come in and do some script revisions.
According to Vulture, the film will now “center on the last day of Tupac’s life, flashing back to show the final four years leading up to it.” Wilkinson tells Vulture that the key to this script is an approach that “is not in any way biopic-y.” Rivele admits that “I knew nothing about [Shakur]” before diving into research, but upon immersing himself in just about everything ever written about the rapper, “it became clear that he was essentially a 19th century Romantic poet who found himself in the 21st century.” Fuqua has also been noted in telling the British entertainment website Digital Spy that he would like to see a fresh face in the role of Tupac. He is hoping to follow the path set by the producers of Notorious who searched the country for a fresh face to play Biggie Smalls and ended up casting Brooklyn rapper Jamal “Gravy” Woolard – who many believe was perfect for the role.
Shakur’s life has been recognized in big and small documentaries each trying to capture the many different events during his short lifetime, most notably the Academy Award–nominated Tupac: Resurrection, released in 2003.
In addition to his hip hop career, Shakur was no stranger to the movie biz and so it’s no surprise that big names are attached to his biopic. Shakur made his first film appearance in the motion picture Nothing But Trouble, as part of a cameo by the Digital Underground but his first starring role was in the cult hit Juice, in which he played Bishop, a trigger happy teen, for which he was hailed by Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers as “the film’s most magnetic figure.” He later went on to star with Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice (for which he was nominated outstanding actor in 1994, but did not win) and with Duane Martin in Above the Rim. After his death, three of Shakur’s completed films, Bullet, Gridlock’d and Gang Related, were posthumously released.