Exclusive : Casting, Synopsis for Tupac Shakur Project

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Mid-way through 2010 it was announced that “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua had anointed himself the captain of a biopic about slain rapper Tupac Shakur.The plan was to shoot in September. Meantime, Fuqua said he’d be opening his door to anyone that thinks they can do a good “Outlaw, Outlaw, Outlaw (They came in to sin)..Outlaw, Outlaw, Outlaw (Dear God, I wonder could you save me?)”

“I want to discover someone new. I want to discover a lot of new people if I can. Obviously I’m going to have to put some people in it that you know, just because actors have different skills. I want to go to the streets and find him anywhere he might be in the world.”

Today we’ve an update on the film, which is set up over at Morgan Creek. Seems the film is gearing up for an April start in Los Angeles.

The official synopsis : “The rise and fall of TUPAC SHAKUR is chronicled, from his days attending the Baltimore School of the Arts as a teenager, to his decision to leave his mother’s dead-end life behind and embrace the Thug Life in California, to his wild success as a rapper and his dangerous war against the East Coast scene. A true poet who was waylaid by fame’s trappings, his earliest ambition was to change the world and make a difference in people’s lives, and before his tragic murder in Las Vegas in 1996, that’s exactly what 2Pac did…”

Most interestingly, we’ve been supplied with the character breakdowns for the film :

[ TUPAC SHAKUR ]
Seen from the ages of 17 to 25, an extraordinarily talented rapper, poet, musician and actor, he grows up in the Druid Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, where he attends the School of the Arts and stands out among his classmates as a force to watch. Tupac grows up without a father, and his mother — once a proud member of the Black Panthers — struggles with crack addiction. He escapes to California with virtually nothing to his name but his beloved composition book. Well-read and intense, Tupac initially sees himself as a truth-bringer, and he wants to change the world with his music and his message. As his star rises, and he finds fame throughout the entertainment industry, his priorities change, and he grows increasingly angry and paranoid. An attempt on his life and a stint in prison alter his personality further until he fully embraces the Death Row label and all it stands for. Still, before his death in 1996, Tupac’s on the verge of another resurrection — of his music and his soul. In his rapper persona he’s a thug: tough, defiant, confident, tattooed and ripped, “pure energy, frenetic, propulsive, irresistible”; but in his personal life, especially around women like Jada and Kidada, he can be pensive, thoughtful and vulnerable…

[ SUGE KNIGHT ]
Early 30s, an enormous, intimidating, larger-than-life man with a stone countenance, never seen without his jewel-encrusted Death Row medallion or his thuggish bodyguards (all of whom are members of the Bloods), he’s the CEO of Death Row Records. At times a fearsome figure, and at other times a paternal, calming presence, Suge is proud of his authentic history; he grew up in Compton and built his label with his own hands, without any help from anyone. He believes that he and Tupac are kindred spirits, and he tries to lure Tupac away from Interscope. Suge gets his chance when he bails Tupac out of prison. Their legendary contract is signed on a napkin…

[ AFENI ]
Seen from early 30′s – 40′s, Tupac’s mother, a strung-out wraith, emaciated by crack, she’s struggling to raise three kids on her own in the ghetto. Afeni was once a proud, dignified member of the Black Panthers. Arrested for supposedly participating in a terrorist conspiracy, she stood up to her accusers in court, eloquently refuted their claims, and won. Her legacy is something that young Tupac wishes to emulate, so her fall from grace is tough on him. After her son leaves Baltimore and becomes a star, Afeni manages to clean up her act, and by the time Tupac is facing a prison sentence of his own, Afeni is there to support him as a strong, healthy woman again…

[ MAURICE "MOPREME" SHAKUR ]
Seen from his early to late 20s, with glasses and a goatee, he is Tupac’s half-brother who grew up with Tupac in Baltimore and eventually moves out to Oakland, California, to live with Tupac. A performer in his own right, Mopreme was the first to enter “the game” of music and he believes in creating a persona that’s separate from one’s real life. After Tupac gets shot, Mopreme tries to raise bail, and he’s concerned when Suge steps in; he doesn’t trust Suge and he’s also troubled by Tupac’s East Coast/West Coast war. The brothers’ once-close relationship is shattered when Suge turns the two young men against one another…

[ KIDADA JONES ]
Early 20s, a gorgeous, sultry, intelligent and loving young woman of mixed race, she is Quincy Jones’ daughter who meets Tupac after he insults her family. His attempt to apologize leaves her both infuriated and charmed. Their animosity and sparks later turn into love, and she accompanies him on his fateful trip to Vegas, though she doesn’t like boxing and would prefer to relax by the pool. Loving, kind, and supportive, she’s stunned by but happy about Tupac’s marriage proposal, and she urges him to meet with her father to discuss his future as an artist…

[ JADA PINKETT ]
Long before she met and married Will Smith, Jada Pinkett was a classmate of Tupac’s at the Baltimore School of the Arts. A regal, stunning young woman (seen from the ages of 17 to early 20s), she puts Tupac in his place for altering some of Hamlet’s lines in a school production. She encourages and supports his poetry, and tells him he was put on earth to change things. Their important friendship continues throughout Tupac’s rise and fall; she visits him in prison and later urges him to apologize to Quincy Jones and his family for offensive remarks he made. She’s concerned that Tupac has changed too much from the boy she used to know…

In an interview with Vulture in August, co-writer Stephen J. Rivele said, “I knew nothing about [Shakur, but upon research] it became clear that he was essentially a 19th century Romantic poet who found himself in the 21st century… He was just beginning to shed that anger and look for a purer voice…He was in the process of changing himself, and entering a new phase of his life — essentially a Romantic vision — and had set up a new label, and a new production company to create it.”

Tupac Shakur, of course, was a popular rapper cum musician (he appeared in such films as “Gridlock’d” and “Poetic Justice”) who was shot to death in September of ’96 in Las Vegas.