Tupac Biopic in the Works

The search is on for a fresh face to play the legendary rapper.

Posted: 02/23/2011 10:24 PM EST

Tupac may not be hiding out south of the border, but thanks to a never-ending slate of fresh projects, the hip-hop legend never dies. According to new reports, director Antoine Fuqua is making progress with a planned biopic of the rapper, whose unsolved murder will mark its 15th anniversary this year.

Fuqua, who directed Denzel Washington in his Academy Award winning performance for Training Day, has previously stated that he wants a fresh face for the high profile roll, with a few marquee names to round out the cast.

“I want to discover someone new," Fuqua said. "I want to discover a lot of new people, if I can. Obviously I’m going to have to put some people in it that you know, just because actors have different skills. I want to go to the streets and find him anywhere he might be in the world."

The movie, which takes place on the day of Tupac’s murder (when he was only 25) and looks back at his life, is to be scripted by Academy Award-winning screenwriters Steven J. Rivele and Chris Wilkinson, who previously penned the biopics Ali and Nixon.

Shooting is expected to begin in April in Los Angeles. Here is a brand new official synopsis, followed by a few key character descriptions:

[ TUPAC SHAKUR ]

Seen from the ages of 17 to 25. An extraordinarily talented rapper, poet, musician and actor, he grows up in the Druid Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, where he attends the School of the Arts. He stands out among his classmates as a force to watch. Tupac grows up without a father, and his mother — once a proud member of the Black Panthers — struggles with crack addiction. He escapes to California with virtually nothing to his name but his beloved composition book. Well-read and intense, Tupac initially sees himself as a truth-bringer, and he wants to change the world with his music and message. As his star rises, and he finds fame in music and film, his priorities change. He grows increasingly angry and paranoid. An attempt on his life and a stint in prison alter his personality further until he fully embraces the Death Row label and all it respresents. Still, before his death in 1996, Tupac’s on the verge of another resurrection — of his music and his soul. In his rapper persona he’s a thug: tough, defiant, confident, tattooed and ripped, “pure energy, frenetic, propulsive, irresistible." But in his personal life, especially around women like actress Jada Pinkett and Kidada Jones (daughter of music legend Quincy Jones), he can be pensive, thoughtful and vulnerable…

[ SUGE KNIGHT ]

In his early 30s, he is an enormous, intimidating, larger-than-life man with a stone countenance— never seen without his jewel-encrusted Death Row medallion or his thuggish bodyguards (all of whom are members of the Bloods). He’s the CEO of Death Row Records. At times, Suge's a fearsome figure. At other times, he's a paternal, calming presence. Suge is proud of his authentic history; he grew up in Compton and built his label with his own hands, without any help from anyone. He believes that he and Tupac are kindred spirits, and he tries to lure Tupac away from Interscope. Suge gets his chance when he bails Tupac out of prison. Their legendary contract is signed on a napkin…

 

[ AFENI ]

Seen from her early 30′s – 40′s, Tupac’s mother, a strung-out wraith emaciated by crack, she’s struggling to raise three kids on her own in the ghetto. Afeni was once a proud, dignified member of the Black Panthers. Arrested for supposedly participating in a terrorist conspiracy, she stood up to her accusers in court, eloquently refuted their claims, and won. Her legacy is something that young Tupac wishes to emulate, so her fall from grace is tough on him. After her son leaves Baltimore and becomes a star, Afeni manages to clean up her act, and by the time Tupac is facing a prison sentence of his own, Afeni is there to support him as a strong, healthy woman again…

[ JADA PINKETT ]

Long before she met and married Will Smith, Jada Pinkett was a classmate of Tupac’s at the Baltimore School of the Arts. A regal, stunning young woman (seen from the age of 17 to early 20s), she puts Tupac in his place for altering some of Hamlet’s lines in a school production. She encourages and supports his poetry, and tells him he was put on Earth to change things. Their important friendship continues throughout Tupac’s rise and fall; she visits him in prison and later urges him to apologize to Quincy Jones and his family for offensive remarks he made. She’s concerned that Tupac has changed too much from the boy she used to know…

 

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