If you asked me to name 10 potential film projects that director Steve McQueen might take on in the future, a documentary on Tupac Shakur wouldn't have crossed my mind at all. And yet, here we are...
Shakur Estate trustee Tom Whalley and Amaru Entertainment, the company created by Afeni Shakur to release her son's posthumous projects, announced today that Nigel Sinclair's White Horse Pictures and Jayson Jackson will team up to produce a fully authorized documentary with Amaru on the life of acclaimed hip-hop artist, writer and poet Tupac Shakur.
The film will be directed by Steve McQueen and produced by Jayson Jackson ("What Happened, Miss Simone?) and White Horse Pictures' Nigel Sinclair ("The Beatles: Eight Days a Week") and Nicholas Ferrall, together with Shakur Estate Trustee Tom Whalley. Gloria Cox, Tupac Shakur's aunt and Afeni Shakur's only sister, will executive produce along with White Horse's Jeanne Elfant Festa.
McQueen had this to say about why he wants to make this film: “I am extremely moved and excited to be exploring the life and times of this legendary artist. I attended NYU film school in 1993 and can remember the unfolding hip-hop world and mine overlapping with Tupac’s through a mutual friend in a small way. Few, if any shined brighter than Tupac Shakur. I look forward to working closely with his family to tell the unvarnished story of this talented man.”
Gloria Cox added: "I am happy to see this project come to life. This was something that my nephew (Tupac) was very passionate about creating in 1996, and my sister (Afeni) since before her passing this last May. It has been a long journey to get here. I feel like we have a team she (Afeni) would be very pleased with. It has never been our intention to rewrite the story of Tupac. Our goal has always been to tell the true story, which has never been done before in such a complete way. My sister always said to me, 'We are not in the business of defending Tupac. Our job is to allow him to be seen in the most complete way, so his actions, his choices, and his words will allow him to speak for himself.' I believe this film will do exactly that."
White Horse's Cassidy Hartmann will serve as co-executive producer. Marc Ambrose will serve as supervising producer.
The documentary will be produced with the full cooperation and the assistance of The Shakur Estate, and financed and distributed by Amaru Entertainment.
White Horse Pictures is engaged as the worldwide sales agent on the documentary.
Interscope Records, the label that released the majority of Tupac's catalog, and Universal Music Publishing Group will provide help and full support to the production. Both companies are divisions of Universal Music Group.
Interest in Tupac's story has been high lately, as the long-in-development Morgan Creek biopic "All Eyez on Me" is set to be released this summer. is always high but it’s heating up right now with a feature film about to be released next month.
In addition, there's A+E's planned documentary on Shakur; Good Films production house is prepping "LAbyrinth," a fictional investigation into deaths of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G., which Forest Whitaker, Neil Brown Jr., and Rockmond Dunbar are attached to star in; there's also USA Network's new true-crime anthology series whose first season will tackle the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, which Anthony Hemingway is attached to direct; and there are a few others...