Antoine Fuqua seemed to be close to getting his project off the ground about 3 years ago; but then he walked away from it. And then there was talk of John Singleton taking over. Eventually, he did. At least, he’s still attached to direct it.
As of our last report on the project, a year ago, Singleton had closed a deal to re-write, direct and produce the film, which was to center on the last day of Tupac’s life, with flashback sequences included that will show the previous years leading up to his death.
No casting has been announced, even though, as of February last year, it was reported that a June 2014 shoot date was in backer Morgan Creek’s sights. That didn’t happen.
Skip ahead to today, to an interview the film’s producer, Randall Emmett, gave to Collider, in which he stated that the long-delayed Tupac Shakur biopic will indeed begin shooting in June, adding, "The script is great and we’re ready to make the movie […] We’re just prepping the logistics."
Emmett also confirmed that rights to Tupac’s music catalog have been secured, thanks to his mother’s involvement. Afeni Shakur is executive producing the film.
As for what audiences can expect from the film will tell, Emmett didn’t give much away, except to say: "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."
He also shared that the film will touch on the East Coast–West Coast hip-hop rivalry of the mid-to-late 1990s, but it won’t be a primary focus: "We had to address it because it was a big thing in the music community at that 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? I was in high school and college at the time, so I’ve been so intrigued learning about it from the…consultants on the movie [who have shared] what was going on, and what was really being thought. And I hope we can show some of that in this movie."
If production is set to begin in June, I expect casting announcements will be made soon… unless delays continue.
I should note that there is another Tupac project in development – also a feature film – titled "The Rise And Fall Of Makavelli The Don," written by Shakur’s cousin, William Lesane, which he plans to produce. Announced in 2013, Lesane said that he was sitting on "a commitment of $15 million" from a Giovanni De Francisci of the Petschek Trust, and Monegasque Movie Productions, to finance the project, with principal photography set for New Mexico. But no specific start date was given, and no word on where the project stands.