EXCLUSIVE: Open Road Films has acquired U.S. rights to Tupac, the long-awaited and highly anticipated feature on the life of Tupac Shakur directed by John Singleton. Scripted by Jeremy Haft & Ed Gonzalez and Singleton, the film traces Shakur’s life from growing up in East Harlem the son of activist Black Panther Party members, to reaching superstardom as a songwriter, hip-hop and movie star, to his vocal position as a leader in the East Coast/West Coast rap war, to his death. Shakur, leaving a Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand In Las Vegas, was murdered in a drive by shooting, dying at age 25 in 1996.
The film is being produced and financed by Morgan Creek Productions and Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films. The deal was set by Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg, Morgan Creek chairman and CEO James G. Robinson, Program Pictures’ L.T. Hutton and Emmtt/Furla/Oasis Films principals Randall Emmett and George Furla. It’s a reunion of sorts for Singleton and Shakur, as Singleton directed him as an actor in the 1993 film Poetic Justice.
Open Road has committed to a wide-screen release of at least 2000 theaters. This film has been long in the making, but if anything Tupac is bigger than ever, based on his popularity and how well his music sells. Producers are Robinson, David Robinson, Hutton, Emmett, Furla and Singleton and the executive producers are Tupac’s mom Afeni Shakur, Ortenberg and Peter Lawson. The casting will start shortly, for a late summer production start in Atlanta, LA and New York.