Boyz N The Hood director John Singleton has resurrected a long gestating biopic of late rap icon Tupac Shakur. Singleton, who directed Shakur in his 1993 film Poetic Justice, will also produce and help re-write the Untitled Tupac Shakur Project alongside scribes Jeremy Haft and Ed Gonzalez, whose last credit was a direct-to-video sequel to Street Kings.
Even though his filmography has been spotty in recent years, with 2 Fast 2 Furious and Abduction, returning Singleton to his West Coast roots will probably bode well for the director. It could signal his return to telling stories of inner-city violence, racial conflict and artistic rejuvenation, like his hits Poetic Justice and Higher Learning.
The project also takes on more significance since Singleton was a friend of Shakur’s. “Tupac was the guy who I planned to do a lifetime of films with,” Singleton told Deadline. “His passing deeply affected my life. As well as countless people in this world. His life story is as important to my generation.”
A biopic about Shakur has been in the works for years. Antoine Fuqua was attached to make a film about the hip-hop legend for a while but the project never got off the ground, since he could not find the right actor for the part. Shakur, whose life and death has a mythical status in the world of hip hop music, is a person so unique and beloved that trying to find an appropriate actor to take on his persona is likely a daunting task.
However, Fruitvale Station‘s Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman (42) seem like good fits for the part. Or, perhaps Singleton will look for an unknown, in the same vein that Notorious, the 2009 film about Shakur’s East Coast rival, had a previously unknown actor (Jamal Woolard) in the role of Christopher “Biggie” Wallace.
The Untitled Tupac Shakur Project is set to shoot this summer. We’ll let you know when we hear more.