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Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Tupac Shakur Biopic: Why You Should Be Skeptical

Posted By on Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 11:26 AM

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After having a spat over legal rights with Afeni Shakur, Tupac Shakur's mom, Morgan Creek Productions has received her blessing to make a biopic about the slain N.Y./D.C./Bay Area rapper. And considering the exciting/troubled/contradictory life story of Tupac, there's definitely enough there to create a great movie of some sort. But a big-budget biopic from director Antoine Fuqua , who is best known for directing police, crime,. and action films? That doesn't seem like the right context for presenting Pac's life.

To Fuqua's credit, he did direct Training Day, which was decent. But we can't really call the man an auteur, because most everything else he's worked on has been shit. Brooklyn's Finest? No thanks. Shooter? Meh. This story doesn't need any added melodrama.

And when you consider how many other recent biopics of musical artists from the last 30 years have turned out, like those of the Notorious B.I.G. and Ian Curtis, it's even harder to get excited about Tupac's. Part of what worked for the successful ones -- like Johnny Cash's Walk The Line and Ray Charles' Ray -- was the artists hit their peak of cultural relevance a long time before the films were made. The world already had considerably perspective on the artists' legacy when the films finally came out, and this allowed the writers and directors to provide insight that went even farther -- the kind of insight it's hard to imagine Fuqua and his crew finding only a decade an a half after the still-deeply-disputed death of Tupac. Fifteen years just isn't enough time.

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