Earlier this week, we reported that The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira signed on to join the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me, portraying the rapper/actor's mother, Afeni Shakur. Today, Deadline reports that she will be joined by another one of her Walking Dead co-stars, Lauren Cohan. The actress will be portraying Leila Steinberg, who would become an important part of Tupac Shakur's life.
Leila Steinberg was just 25 when she met the then 17-year-old Tupac Shakur, after he came to one of her workshops where she mentors young kids to use their talent in hopes of making their lives better. They became instant friends, and the rapper even mentored her on how to become a business manager as he rose through the rap music ranks. Steinberg still mentors kids today, who come from both impoverished backgrounds and affluent lifestyles, through an organization entitled Aim4TheHeart.org.
Lauren Cohan joins a cast that also includes Demetrius Shipp as Tupac Shakur, Tupac Shakur as actress Jada Pinkett Smith, a longtime friend of the rapper/actor, and Jamie Hector. We reported last month that Benny Boom (Next Day Air) had signed on to direct, and that the production needed to get started by the end of 2015, or else 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 is 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.
All Eyez on Me follows Tupac Shakur's meteoric rise to fame as a rapper and actor, along with his time spent in jail and the East Coast vs. West Coast feud he became embroiled in as part of Death Row Records. Benny Boom is directing from a script by Ed Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft (Street Kings 2: Motor City). Over the several years this project was in development, other writers such as Steven Bagatourian (American Gun), Stephen J. Rivele & Christopher Wilkinson (Pawn Sacrifice) and John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood) worked on the script.
Lauren Cohan is best known for her role as Maggie in AMC's hit series The Walking Dead, which returns with the back half of its sixth season on Sunday, February 14. On the big screen, the actress will next be seen in The Boy, which hits theaters on January 22. What do you think about this cast that's coming together for All Eyez on Me?