If you’re wondering why they don’t just cast Tupac Shakur in the Tupac Shakur biopic, it’s pretty simple. He’s way too old to play himself at this point. Otherwise, he’d be perfect.
I know, I know. He’s dead. Remind me of that when his next album drops.
Since he can’t play himself, director Antoine Fuqua (who appears to be moving full speed forward with the biopic) is looking for a fresh face to take on the role. In fact, he’s looking for a lot of fresh faces according to Movie Hole, who have released the actor specifications and official synopsis.
Check them out for yourself and see if you have what it takes to play Suge Knight.
The official synopsis:
“The rise and fall of TUPAC SHAKUR is chronicled, from his days attending the Baltimore School of the Arts as a teenager, to his decision to leave his mother’s dead-end life behind and embrace the Thug Life in California, to his wild success as a rapper and his dangerous war against the East Coast scene. A true poet who was waylaid by fame’s trappings, his earliest ambition was to change the world and make a difference in people’s lives, and before his tragic murder in Las Vegas in 1996, that’s exactly what 2Pac did…”
And the character specs:
[ 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 and 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 his message. As his star rises, and he finds fame throughout the entertainment industry, his priorities change, and 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 stands for. 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 Jada and Kidada, he can be pensive, thoughtful and vulnerable…
[ SUGE KNIGHT ]
Early 30s, 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 a fearsome figure, and at other times 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 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…
[ MAURICE "MOPREME" SHAKUR ]
Seen from his early to late 20s, with glasses and a goatee, he is Tupac’s half-brother who grew up with Tupac in Baltimore and eventually moves out to Oakland, California, to live with Tupac. A performer in his own right, Mopreme was the first to enter “the game” of music and he believes in creating a persona that’s separate from one’s real life. After Tupac gets shot, Mopreme tries to raise bail, and he’s concerned when Suge steps in; he doesn’t trust Suge and he’s also troubled by Tupac’s East Coast/West Coast war. The brothers’ once-close relationship is shattered when Suge turns the two young men against one another…
[ KIDADA JONES ]
Early 20s, a gorgeous, sultry, intelligent and loving young woman of mixed race, she is Quincy Jones’ daughter who meets Tupac after he insults her family. His attempt to apologize leaves her both infuriated and charmed. Their animosity and sparks later turn into love, and she accompanies him on his fateful trip to Vegas, though she doesn’t like boxing and would prefer to relax by the pool. Loving, kind, and supportive, she’s stunned by but happy about Tupac’s marriage proposal, and she urges him to meet with her father to discuss his future as an artist…
[ 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 ages 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…
If you happen to know anyone that could play a young Jada Pinkett (since her hair-whipping daughter is still a bit too young), give her a call and tell her it’s her lucky day.
This movie sounds fantastic to me. Fuqua has a mixed record, but the material here is incredible, and Shakur’s is absolutely a story that needs to be told on this kind of scale.
On a side note, I was once offered a job working on a music video produced by Suge Knight. I turned it down for health reasons.
Tangents aside, the movie is set to start filming in April which means that it could be done and ready to release by the end of the year or early 2012.
What do you think?