John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Higher Learning) is officially set to direct, rewrite, and produce the long-gestating Tupac Shakur biopic. “Tupac was the guy who I planned to do a lifetime of films with,” Singleton says. (The two worked together on Poetic Justice in 1993, three years before Shakur’s death.) “His passing deeply affected my life as well as countless people in this world. His life story is as important to my generation.”
Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Brooklyn’s Finest) was originally attached to direct the film, but departed after the difficulty he encountered in casting Pac, even with a nationwide casting call. Singleton came aboard in late 2011, but left sometime between then and now. (Just before initially signing on for the Tupac biopic, Singleton was in talks for an N.W.A film, Straight Outta Compton.) “The film’s long history also includes a legal battle between [production company] Morgan Creek and Shakur’s mother, Afeni, over the rights that eventually led to a settlement and Afeni becoming an exec producer on the project,” Variety reports.
The tricky thing about Singleton casting — and directing — someone in the role of Tupac will be that he knew Tupac pretty well. (Exhibit A: a YouTube video of the two of them having a footrace.) Variety also says Singleton is close with the Shakur family. Production is looking to kick off in June, so just in case Mr. Singleton finds himself scrambling, I’ll note that Rembert Browne’s casting suggestions from 2011 are still more than valid.