Antoine Fuqua Prepares Tupac Biopic

Thug life headed for screen

He was once attached to Notorious, the film about the life of Biggie Smalls, but the rap biopic Antoine Fuqua finally brings to the screen will be on Tupac Shakur: from the other side of the East Coast/West Coast rivalry.

Tupac, as if you need telling, was a hip-hop superstar, with albums like Me Against the World, All Eyez on Me and The Don Killuminati all achieving multi-platinum status. He was also building an extremely credible acting career with the likes of Juice, Above the Rim and Gridlock'd before his untimely death in a drive-by shooting in 1996.

The case remains unsolved, although various conspiracy theories and accusations regarding Suge Knight, Biggie, Death Row and Bad Boy Records (not to mention the police) continue to fly around. Nick Broomfield's 2002 documentary Biggie & Tupac conducts its own (very revealing) investigation, and 2007's Tupac: Assassination claimed some new information and insights.

Fuqua's film won't concentrate solely on the Death Row years however; it'll also take time to cover Tupac's early life and rise to stardom. Pac's mother Afeni Shakur-Davis is on board as an executive producer, and says, "I am confident that [production company] Morgan Creek will stay true to the common goal we share of depicting Tupac's life in a way that will allow the world to see the authenticity of his artistry, his hopes, and his life goals."

Casting is currently underway, although no frontrunners for the lead have yet been announced. Anthony Mackie played Tupac off-Broadway to some acclaim, but his short turn in Notorious was met with less enthusiasm. That film was also criticized for its bland rags-to-riches approach, but there's every reason to expect that, with the director of Training Day and Brooklyn's Finest at the helm, Tupac will make the most of its subject's eventful life.

The screenplay is by Steve Bagatourian (American Gun) and Stephen J Rivele & Christopher Wilkinson (Ali), and filming in LA, New York, Georgia and Las Vegas is scheduled for early summer.