Synopsis And Character Breakdowns For Antoine Fuqua's Tupac Biopic

I'll never really understand why the producers behind the Biggie biopic Notorious didn't just double down and produce one about Tupac Shakur at the same time, keeping all the same actors and sets and telling the parallel stories from the different points of view. Notorious was a decent-sized hit, after all, and they could have guaranteed themselves another one six months later by getting the Tupac biopic in the can while they were at it.

But nobody listens to me, of course, so now Training Day director Antoine Fuqua is moving ahead with his Shakur biopic, opening up the casting process and revealing, via Moviehole, the synopsis of the planned film and the descriptions of all the major characters. Of course, because these characters are all real people there aren't a ton of surprises-- Suge Knight is described as "an enormous, intimidating, larger-than-life man," Tupac is "extraordinarily talented"-- but Jada Pinkett shows up in there, having befriended Tupac in high school, and that at least was news to me.

Not to beat a dead horse, but Anthony Mackie played Tupac to perfection in Notorious and I'd love to see him return to the role, but he's probably a little too old at this point to pull off a teenage Shakur, and may be ready to move on to something else. Take a look at some of the character descriptions below-- head over to Moviehole for the full list-- and tell me if you can think of any actors more perfect for the part than Mackie.

“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…”[ 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…

Katey Rich

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend