Believe it or not, “Menace II Society” was released over twenty years ago. The film launched the careers of Albert and Allen Hughes (“From Hell”, “Book of Eli”), who made the film when they were just twenty years old. While the film proved to be a critical and commercial hit at the time, the production was not without its problems. Tupac Shakur was originally supposed to play a role in the film but was fired by Allen Hughes, apparently because Tupac was causing problems on the set. The firing lead to Tupac and Allen Hughes actually coming to blows and Tupac wound up being found guilty for assault and battery, as a result.
The stars of “Menace II Society,” actors Tyrin Turner and Larenz Tate, recently dropped by MTV’s “RapFix Live” to celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary and they talked about Tupac’s brief involvement with the film. “We at a table reading, and Tupac’s just annoyed. We’re trying to read and he’s just annoyed,” Turner tells MTV.
They talked about the altercation between Tupac and Hughes and the events that led up to it. Tupac was supposed to play Sharif, a college-bound good kid trapped in South Central LA (the part eventually went to Vonte Sweet). Tupac wanted a meatier role, but the Hughes brothers did not see it his way. Things later escalated on the set of a music video, when members of Tupac’s entourage were found beating up on Allen Hughes. As Turner remembers it, “As we started getting closer… Allen is on the ground or whatever, but it was like he was fighting like 30 people.”
Hughes has apparently forgiven the late rapper since the incident. “If ‘Pac had been in the movie he would’ve outshined everyone,” says Hughes. “It would’ve thrown the whole axis of the movie off if Tupac was in it, because he was bigger than the movie.” High praise indeed. The film definitely did not suffer from Tupac’s lack of involvement in the film, but it is one of those interesting casting “what-ifs” to consider next time you give the movie another spin. [MTV]