The commercial success of this year’s Straight Outta Compton paved the way for future biopics centered on the tumultuous lives of iconic rappers. Arguably one of the most heavily demanded of all of these is a film based on the life and death of Tupac Shakur – although there’s still plenty of debate as to whether or not that death even occurred. Now it seems fans will be getting what they want and the new Tupac biopic has already cast is lead (it’s not a hologram).
TMZ reports that Demetrius Shipp Jr. has been cast in the upcoming movie about the rise of Tupac titled All Eyez On Me. The actor himself commemorated his arrival on set with a number of Tweets.
Sometimes people get all up in arms over casting when a character doesn’t resemble their real life counterpart, but luckily we don’t imagine that being a major issue in this case. One of the advantages to the casting of Shipp has to be his uncanny resemblance to the legendary rapper. Seriously, whether or not he pulls off the performance itself, the fact of the matter is that in Shakur’s more quiet moments, it will feel like a documentary on the man’s life.
One cause for concern regarding the casting of Shipp stems from his overall inexperience as an actor. Tupac is a rap legend and icon; I would even be so bold as to consider him a god among fans of classic early west coast rap. To date Shipp only has one screen credit to his name, and it’s an unreleased TV movie titled #unlock'd. That being said it’s worth noting that Straight Outta Compton similarly cast relatively unknown actors to portray the trail blazing hip hop group NWA, and every member of the ensemble turned in a performance that genuinely stood out in 2015.
Tupac actually appeared briefly in Straight Outta Compton – albeit played by a different actor – but his appearance was meant more as a cameo and had little bearing on the film’s plot. The fact that All Eyez On Me has officially begun production seems to contradict claims made in August by former Dogg Pound rapper Daz Dillinger, when he asserted that a sequel to Compton was currently in development and would focus on the lives of Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg. While we’re most certainly getting a Tupac movie, this one doesn’t resemble the one pitched by Dillinger.
So rap fans only have to wait a little bit longer. A Tupac biopic is on the way, and the lead looks practically identical to the source material. We will bring you more information on All Eyez On Me as it becomes available.