Variety has announced that director John Singleton has been signed to re-write, produce, and direct the long discussed, but often delayed biography film of rapper/actor/poet/activist Tupac Shakur. Many movie and music fans of the 90s are likely to recognize the significance of this decision because Singleton directed Shakur in his 1993 drama Poetic Justice. The film co-starred pop star Janet Jackson in the title role of “Justice”, and helped launch the third single from her album Janet, “Again”.
“Again” went on to top Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe for best original song. It featured a steamy music video that starred Janet, and included prominently placed clips from the film. This is significant because, while there are several other factors that have contributed to the circumstances of Shakur’s short but uniquely stellar career, the video and song marketed this film, and thusly him, to audiences that stretched beyond the underground hip hop scene that was already familiar with him at the time. Whether by design or happy coincidence, the opportunity of that exposure wasn’t lost on him and his label Interscope Records. The acclaim of his performance in the socially conscious film was followed three months later by the release of his own socially conscious track “Keep Ya Head Up.”
Although Shakur reportedly penned the anthem in honor of Latasha Harlins, a 15-year-old high school student that was murdered by a Korean shop owner that only received a sentence of probation and community service as punishment, it stood out as a career milestone for him. Through the song, audiences were able to continue to get to know the “I Get Around” rapper’s more sensitive side that they were first shown in Singleton’s movie. “Keep Ya Head Up” became the highest charting song of his career up to that time.
Singleton’s awareness of this side of Tupac prior to the height of his fame, which many would argue occurred after his death, and his experience working with him on one of his most character driven roles, make him uniquely qualified to tell a more complete version of a story the rapper’s story, that usually personifies him as the epitome of Gangsta Rap controversy. It is our guess that Singleton will balance that famed sensational side with a sensitivity that few could match. He said the following when the announcement was made:
“Tupac was the guy who I planned to do a lifetime of films with,” the director commented. “His passing deeply affected my life as well as countless people in this world. His life story is as important to my generation.”
Tupac was last portrayed on the big screen by actor Anthony Mackie, in the 2009 Notorious B.I.G. bio pic, Notorious. There is no word on who will play Tupac in this new yet to be titled film. However, production is set to start in June.
Poetic Justice (Official Trailer)
“Keep Ya Head Up”
From: Strictly 4 My N****z