Morgan Creek's languishing Untitled Tupac Shakur Project has been given a new lease on life, with the studio hoping to get production started this year. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Benny Boom (Next Day Air) is in talks to direct, replacing Carl Franklin, who was attached to direct this summer. If principal photography doesn't start by the end of this year, Morgan Creek will lose Tupac Shakur's music rights, which will revert back to his mother, Afeni Shakur.
The production company has tried to get this Tupac biopic off the ground for several years, with Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer) set to direct back in 2011, then John Singleton coming aboard in February 2014. This April, John Singleton backed out, after working on the script for quite some time, which had originally been written by Steven Bagatourian, Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson. John Singleton also offered a parting shot on Instagram in April, claiming the producers aren't "respectful of his legacy."
It isn't known if Morgan Creek is moving forward with the script that John Singleton worked on, or if they have brought in a new writer since then. The project hit another stumbling block last month when co-financiers Emmet/Furla filed a $10 million lawsuit against Morgan Creek, claiming the studio breached a production agreement by selecting a lead actor and setting a budget and production schedule without Emmet/Furla's approval. Back in 2009, Morgan Creek also sued Afeni Shakur over her son's life rights, which she responded to with a $10 million cross-complaint. The lawsuits were settled and she is now an executive producer.
This biopic comes on the heels of Universal's Straight Outta Compton, which has taken in over $200 million worldwide from a $28 million budget. Tupac Shakur briefly appears as a character in that box office hit, played by Marcc Rose, and he was previously portrayed by Anthony Mackie in the 2009 biopic Notorious, which centered on another slain rapper, The Notorious B.I.G.. Much like The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur was murdered at the age of 25, and neither of their murder cases have been solved.
Benny Boom only has two feature film credits to his name, 2009's Next Day Air and the 2011 direct-to-video sequel S.W.A.T. Fire Fight. He is best known for his work in commercials and music videos, directing videos for artists such as Nicki Minaj, Lil' Wayne and Meek Mill. Are you glad that the Untitled Tupac Shakur Project is finally moving forward?