Few men lived with the cinematic flare of Tupac, but it’s been a struggle to capture his life on screen. Morgan Creek Productions, director Antoine Fuqua, and Shakur’s mother Afeni agreed on a deal in the winter after years of back-and-forth. The pact faltered last week when Fuqua signed on to Southpaw, a boxing drama led by Eminem. That may have delayed a lesser studio another couple years to find another director that meets the standards of Afeni Shakur. But Morgan Creek has one more card to play. The studio upped Fuqua’s contract to “pay-or-play,” so Fuqua gets paid even if Morgan Creek makes the movie without him. It sounds like a vote of confidence more than anything else, but one that makes a significant step toward the reality of a Tupac biopic. 24 Frames suggests that Fuqua may be able to direct both Southpaw and Tupac — depending on how the next couple of months proceed, Tupac may even come first.
Hit the jump for details on the approach to casting.
Getting Fuqua on board is crucial to making the biopic in the near future, but the real bitch is casting. You can’t hire any old schmoe to replicate the rapper’s innate and vast charisma. Unless…
A source tells 24 Frames that, after looking at several veteran actors, Morgan Creek is leaning toward an unknown with “a similar look and background.” When they find the young man who fits the part, an acting coach would take him the rest of the way. I’m virtually always in favor of unknowns for biopics. But the search, if done right, won’t be easy, and may very well add another couple years on to the development period. Tupac will get a biopic in my lifetime, and I hope they take as long as they need. Keep ya head up, Morgan Creek.