If there are people in the world who still believe that Tupac Shakur’s death in 1996 was a hoax, Hollywood effectively rekindled their theories Wednesday.
As reported by Deadline, a biopic about the rapper was greenlit yesterday after Emmett/Furla/Oasis and Morgan Creek announced that John Singleton would direct the film. The project languished in development hell for years, but with Singleton behind the cameras, it is already being prepared for production, with plans to start shooting as soon as summer 2014.
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Singleton directed Shakur in his second major film, the drama Poetic Justice, in which the rapper played a postal worker opposite Janet Jackson. That experience will no doubt feed Singleton’s creativity as he joins Ed Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft in revising their script.
Killed at the age of 25, Shakur has become a legend in the hip-hop community, not only because he released fewer albums before he died than after, but by creating a persona that seems to serve all purposes for all sorts of fans. To listeners of “Dear Mama,” for example, Shakur was a pious, devoted son; to “Wet ‘Em Up,” he was an incendiary, devil-may-care braggart; and to “Changes,” a thoughtful prophet carefully examining race and societal issues.
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The project is endorsed by his mother Afeni Shakur, who will receive an executive producer credit on the film, which both lends the production credibility and no doubt grants it access to the rapper’s extensive musical catalogue.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen exactly how Shakur’s life will be dramatized, given that no fewer than 14 documentaries have already been produced about his life. But given the obvious wealth of information about the rapper – not to mention the volumes of performance and other footage recorded while he was alive – the feature has an opportunity to be a definitive portrait of Shakur, even if his life and work contains a multitude of personas and permutations.
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