John Singleton has signed on to direct, re-write, and produce Morgan Creek Productions and Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films’ Tupac Shakur biopic, which is hitting up a summer 2014 shoot. The long-gestating pic about the late iconic rapper and sometimes actor known as 2Pac got renewed momentum last Fall when Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films joined Morgan Creek as co-financier. Singleton will work with Ed Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft to revise their original greenlit script. Needless to say, Shakur’s lifelong ambitions as a rap star yielded one of the more colorful and tragic life stories of recent decades. The charismatic Shakur, a legendary West Coast hip hop fixture and one of the best-selling artists of all time, dabbled in an acting career throughout the ’90s with memorable turns in Juice, Above the Rim and later Bullet, Gridlock’d, and Gang Related before he was killed at the age of 25 in a 1996 Las Vegas drive-by shooting that remains unsolved. The new biopic boasts a number of principals who were personally connected to Shakur. Mother Afeni Shakur, who has acted as guardian of her son’s artistic legacy since his death, will have an EP credit on the project which has access to 2Pac’s extensive musical catalog. And Singleton, who earned writing and directing Oscar nods for his seminal Boyz n The Hood, directed Shakur in 1993’s Poetic Justice opposite Janet Jackson. “Tupac was the guy who I planned to do a lifetime of films with,” said Singleton. “His passing deeply affected my life.. As well as countless people in this world … His life story is as important to my generation.” Pic is produced by Morgan Creek’s James G. Robinson and David Robinson, Program Pictures’ LT Hutton, and Emmett/Furla/Oasis’ Randall Emmett and George Furla and is exec produced by Afeni Shakur. Singleton is repped by WME and Underground. Variety first broke the scoop.
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