No casting announcements have been made yet, so there’s no indication of who might be tapped to play the charismatic, controversial hip hop legend, who died nearly 20 years ago on Sept. 13, 1996. He was memorably portrayed by actor Anthony Mackie in the well-regarded Biggie Smalls biopic, Notorious. Now Tupac will get his own screen time, six years after Biggie.
After the fiasco of Lifetime’s Aaliyah movie—for which the producers had to make an entire movie on a singer without including any of her songs because they weren’t able to secure the rights to her music—producer Randall Emmett told collider.com that the rights to Shakur’s music are firmly in hand. Production company Morgan Creek secured the rights from Tupac’s mother, former Black Panther Afeni Shakur.
While the movie has been bouncing around Hollywood for years, Emmett said the stars have aligned and filming is scheduled for the summer.
“The script is great and we’re ready to make the movie,” Emmett said. “We’re just prepping the logistics.”
Emmett told the site how the film would be structured.
“I think our story, especially like a lot of biopics in the hip-hop space, will at least tease the beginning of his life, kind of tease his beginnings and kind of the people around him, then go into the key years leading up to the pinnacle of his success—those three or four key years of his rise, and the empire he built,” he said. “He really defined it and paved the way for a lot of the great hip-hop artists we have today. We want to honor that, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We want to be real and raw, about the things and the gangster life that he was involved in, growing up in the way that he grew up, but we also want to honor the talent that he had because he really was, in my opinion for sure, one of the greatest talents that ever lived in music and hip-hop.”
Emmett said the movie would address the East Coast/West Coast rivalry that many believe was instrumental in the rapper’s death because it was such a big issue in the music industry in the 1990’s.
“With the movie we’re telling at the periods we’re telling, we’re addressing whatever was going on. I don’t want to give away the story, but I definitely want to say that when the East Coast/West Coast rivalry was going on, that was definitely during a key part of his life, and I would say that probably some of that is brought up,” he said. “We had to address it because it was a big thing in the music community at the time, and the way that it’s told in our story is we almost set the origin of it. How did it start? Why did it get to the place it got to?”
Tupac is now one of the bestselling music artists of all time, with more than 75 million albums sold, so there will potentially be a huge audience for this movie when it hits the screens.