It has been a long time since John Singleton has made a film that lived up to his early work like “Boyz N The Hood” or “Higher Learning.” His last effort was the dismal and lamebrained Taylor Lautner vehicle “Abduction,” and while for a brief moment it seemed he would be taking on “Straight Outta Compton,” the biopic of N.W.A., he was quickly pushed out with a different trio of filmmakers in the running for the gig (apparently Craig Brewer is favored though it will depend on how well (or not) “Footloose” does this weekend). But the director has rebounded and is now circling another hip hop story that he is just as well suited for as the N.W.A. flick and one that should hopefully be a return to his former glory.
“Tupac” has been in development forever, with Antoine Fuqua long attached to direct. Earlier this summer, it was reported that the director was dropping out of directing the movie in favor of doing the Eminem boxing movie “Southpaw.” But then, just over a week later, production company Morgan Creek, signed Fuqua to a pay-or-play deal to keep him on the movie and show their commitment to getting the project made. Well, “Southpaw” was dropped by DreamWorks, “Tupac” still hadn’t moved ahead, and with Fuqua eager to work, the project moved to Relativity‘s “Hunter Killer” instead and now Vulture reports that Singleton may take over the director’s chair.
Singleton is in negotiations for a movie that still is yet to find a leading man and has been moving in fits and starts ever since it was announced, and was at one point optimistically planned to shoot this past late spring/early summer (obviously, that never happened). The film has a script from Stephen J. Rivele and Chris Wilkinson (“Ali,” “Nixon“) and recently had a new draft penned by Brian Tucker (the upcoming Mark Wahlberg pic “Broken City“) it’s not known if the movie is retaining the structure that would follow Tupac on his last days while flashing back to the final four years of his life.
Of course, Singleton spent plenty of time with Tupac, as the rapper made one of his handful of film appearances in “Poetic Justice” opposite Janet Jackson, so he’ll have a good insight into Tupac as a person that few other helmers would be able to bring to the project. Of course, just who will take on the iconic part is still up in the air. An unknown newcomer was being sought for the longest time, but that can always be a mixed bag, but man, can somebody give Anthony Mackie a call for this already?