Biopics have long been a staple of Hollywood filmmaking. Whether they are focused on famous politicians or the roller coaster ride of being a rock star, there is an entire sub-genre dedicated to recreation of famous people’s lives on film. Now that we are well into the second decade of the 21st century, enough time has passed to start to look back and reflecting on the icons of the 90’s. The time period that happened to be the apex of hip-hop culturally and socially, which produced some of music’s most influential rap artists, including Tupac Shakur.
Tupac was one of hip-hop’s most dynamic voices and personalities during his run in the early and mid-90’s. His successes in music was only overshadowed by the news he made as a public figure, showing both potential to be a revolutionary leader and a self-destructive desire for street credibility. It seems that the first major feature film, All Eyez On Me, will be attempting to depict the duality of his persona and will give audiences a glimpse into his upbringing.
In 2015, Straight Outta Compton proved the commercial and artistic heights that rap biopics could reach, with director F. Gary Gray driving the film to a $60 million opening. It’s unclear if music video director Benny Boom (Next Day Air) has what it takes to match that film’s quality, however all eyes will certainly be on Boom to ensure he is respecting Tupac’s legacy properly. Demetrius Shipp Jr. is a spitting image of Shakur, however it will take more than looks to faithfully translate the determination, charisma, and fury, of the talented rapper and actor. Hopefully he has the acting chops.
The supporting cast also features a few notable faces, particularly from the world of The Walking Dead. Danai Gurira, who may be better known to fans as Michonne, plays Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur. If the movie is well written, it will draw a lot on the relationship between the two and the background of Afeni that led to FBI surveillance of Tupac as an adult. While Lauren Cohen plays Leila Steinberg, a long-time friend and confidant of Tupac – along with Jada Pinkett-Smith played by Kat Graham – as he rose from obscurity to super-stardom.
It’s hard to imagine that this movie won’t do big business. However, it’s unclear if it will delve into the dark side of the personality, while also exploring the larger politics of the time that led to his ascension. There are a lot of people pulling for this movie to work, we will find out soon. Enjoy!
ALL EYEZ ON ME tells the true and untold story of prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur. The film follows Shakur from his early days in New York City to his evolution into being one of the world’s most recognized and influential voices before his untimely death at the age of 25. Against all odds, Shakur’s raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mind-set propelled him into becoming a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his passing.
All Eyez On Me opens on June 16th, 2017.