If he had not been killed in a Las Vegas drive-by shooting in 1996, iconic rapper/actor Tupac Shakur would be celebrating his 45th birthday today, June 16. In honor of his birthday, the first teaser trailer has been released for All Eyez on Me, the upcoming Tupac biopic set to hit theaters on November 11. This footage gives us our first look at Demetrius Shipp Jr., who makes his feature film debut portraying Tupac Shakur. And man, you might believe Tupac himself has been resurrected!
All Eyez On Me centers on the life of the charismatic yet controversial artist. Rapper, poet, actor and political activist, Tupac shot to fame with 2Pacalypse Now, lauded for its seminal underground vibe and still an inspiration for major artists today. Tupac's politically charged lyrics, inspired by his parents' activism as Black Panthers in the 60s & early 70s, condemned governmental intrusion in black communities. Tupac's increased participation in the East Coast-West Coast Rap rivalry became well documented and avidly followed by his fans. The trailer debuted on radio personality Big Boy's Neighborhood's Instagram.
On September 7, 1996 he was gunned down on a street corner in Las Vegas, where he died 6 days later. His murder was never solved. The supporting cast includes Danai Gurira as Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur, Katerina Graham as actress Jada Pinkett Smith, who grew up with Tupac in Baltimore, Lauren Cohan as Leila Steinberg, Annie Ilonzeh as Kidada Jones, Dominic L. Santana as Death Row Records founder Suge Knight and Jamal Woolard as Notorious B.I.G. The movie will hit theaters November 11, going up against Universal's Almost Christmas, Sony's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, 20th Century Fox's Rules Don't Apply and EuropaCorp's Shut In.
Benny Boom (Next Day Air) signed on to direct last year, with production forced to get away quickly. If filming hadn't started by the end of 2015, the production company Morgan Creek would lose Tupac Shakur's music rights, which will revert back to his mother, Afeni Shakur. Principal photography got started at the end of December, with Afeni Shakur herself on board as executive producer.
Afeni Shakur was a political activist and an active member of the Black Panther party, who raised her son to be an avid reader and a political mind that influenced his rap music. This past May, Afeni Shakur passed away at the age of 69, unable to see the film completed and in theaters. With this September marking the 20th anniversary of Tupac's death, we'll have to wait and see if this biopic has any plans to honor his life, alongside his mother's, this fall. In related news, Big Boy's Neighborhood reveals that Sprite will continue their "Obey Your Verse" campaign with cans that will feature lyrics from Tupac Shakur. While we wait for more on this biopic, take a look at the first trailer for All Eyez On Me below.