EXCLUSIVE: 12 Years A Slave helmer Steve McQueen will direct a full length feature documentary on the life of iconic hip hop star Tupac Shakur. A deal has come together between Estate trustee Tom Whalley and Amaru Entertainment, the company created by Afeni Shakur to release her son’s posthumous projects. They are teaming with Nigel Sinclair’s White Horse Pictures and Jayson Jackson to produce a fully authorized documentary with Amaru on the life of late hip-hop artist, writer and poet. McQueen, who won the Oscar for the Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave will direct and Jayson Jackson (What Happened, Miss Simone?) will produce with Sinclair, the man behind a slew of musical documentaries including the most recent, The Beatles: Eight Days A Week–The Touring Years, along with Nicholas Ferrall and Whalley. Gloria Cox, Tupac Shakur’s aunt and Afeni Shakur’s only sister, will executive produce along with White Horse’s Jeanne Elfant Festa. White Horse Pictures will be the worldwide sales agent on the film.
Though his recording career only lasted five years, Shakur has sold over 75 million records worldwide and he recently became the first solo hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the April 7 ceremony where he was posthumously inducted with a musical tribute from Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys and T.I. He also starred in such films as Juice, Poetic Justice, Above the Rim, Gridlock’d and Gang Related. He was murdered in a drive by shooting in 1996.
Said McQueen: “I am extremely moved and excited to be exploring the life and times of this legendary artist. I attended NYU film school in 1993 and can remember the unfolding hip-hop world and mine overlapping with Tupac’s through a mutual friend in a small way. Few, if any shined brighter than Tupac Shakur. I look forward to working closely with his family to tell the unvarnished story of this talented man.”
Beyond the support of Shakur’s estate, the film will also have the support of Interscope Records, which release most of Shakur’s catalog, and Universal Music Publishing Group. Which means access to songs that have not lost their resonance over time.