John Singleton May Be Bringing Tupac Shakur's Story to the Screen
We've seen the life story of Christopher 'Notorious B.I.G.' Wallace brought to life through 2009's Notorious, but now one-time friend, ultimate rival, and fellow rapper Tupac '2Pac' Shakur is getting his own biopic. And what better director to tell the rapper's tragic story than writer/director/friend John Singleton, who directed Shakur for his dramatic turn in 1993's Poetic Justice. Recently, we reported that Singleton could be taking on another hip-hop story he was close to with a film about N.W.A. that would be partly founded by Singleton's Boyz 'N the Hood star Ice Cube, but this hip-hip biopic might take priority now. More below!
The most recent draft of the script for Shakur's film comes from Brian Tucker (Broken City), with earlier drafts by Oscar-nominated screenwriters (and two guys who have penned their fair share of biopics) Stephen J. Rivele and Chris Wilkinson (Ali, Nixon, Copying Beethoven). But on the directing side of things, Vulture is reporting that, when it came down to New Line Cinema's N.W.A. film - aptly titled Straight Outta Compton - or Universal Pictures' 2Pac film, Singleton chose to go with the latter, due in part to the New Line's decision to explore director Craig Brewer (Footloose, Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan) as a viable option for the former. I imagine Singleton's more personal connection and friendship with Shakur also had something to do with it.
But Singleton isn't the first director Universal approached on the project. Antoine Fuqua (the planned Suge Knight documentary, Training Day) was originally attached but left the production when he couldn't seem to find the right actor for the job, even after a nationwide talent search. I guess Fuqua wasn't a fan of Anthony Mackie's performance as 2Pac in Notorious! Coincidentally, they had a similar open casting call for the role of Biggie in Notorious, before it was given to rapper turned actor Gravy a.k.a. Jamal Woolard. Maybe they'll do a crossover and have Woolard as B.I.G. for the 2Pac biopic? Probably not.