Tupac Shakur Biopic ‘All Eyez on Me’ Casts a Lead


The rapper Tupac Shakur, shown in 1993, will be played by a newcomer, Demetrius Shipp Jr.

Associated Press

A new biopic about Tupac Shakur named after the rapper’s 1996 double album “All Eyez on Me” has cast its central role. Demetrius Shipp Jr., an inexperienced actor who resembles the ’90s hip-hop great, will play Shakur, who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in September 1996.

Greg Mielcarz, a spokesman for the film studio Morgan Creek, confirmed the casting, which was broken by TMZ. Mr. Shipp has also been blasting out the news on social media, posting pictures on his Instagram of himself in character, including a snapshot with Jamal Woolard, who played Christopher Wallace (a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G.) in the 2009 biopic “Notorious.” Mr. Woolard will reprise the role in the new film.

The music video director Benny Boom will helm “All Eyez on Me,” which had been hamstrung by production problems. Multiple directors were involved with the film before Mr. Boom, including John Singleton, the director of “Boyz N The Hood” and “Poetic Justice” (which starred Shakur); and Antoine Fuqua, who directed “Training Day” and “Southpaw.” Mr. Boom’s previous film credits include the 2009 comedy “Next Day Air.”

Mr. Shipp has considerably less on-screen experience. “Trust me, he can act!” one of the film’s producers, L.T. Hutton, wrote on Facebook in a post that links to the TMZ report. “The thing was to find the full package, someone who had it all! Acting ability, looks and soul.”

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A photo posted by Demetrius Shipp Jr. (@dshippjraeome) on

Mr. Shipp has been taking “intensive one-on-one lessons with acting coaches for more than a year,” Mr. Mielcarz said.

Shakur is one of rap’s most recognizable figures, as well as a notable actor in his own right (in addition to “Poetic Justice,” his big-screen credits include 1992’s “Juice”). Since his death at the age of 25, he has become an icon, springing up, Elvis-like, on memorabilia and in conspiracy theories. He was portrayed by Marcc Rose in the 2015 film “Straight Outta Compton” and was the inspiration for a short-lived Broadway musical, “Holler if Ya Hear Me,” in 2014.

“All Eyez on Me” is currently shooting in Atlanta, with plans to film until the end of January. No release date has been set.

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