Some of you might remember my May 2011 post, revealing that the multi-talented Tupac Shakur wrote a screenplay – the only one he ever penned – while he was in jail for a weapons charge, written over an 11-month sentence at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., in 1995; and in that post, I mentioned that Preston Holmes and Ivan Juzang’s NStar Studios (who collaborated with Shakur’s mother to make the documentary Tupac: Resurrection), had acquired rights to the script, with plans to produce a film some time this year.
Titled, Live 2 Tell, the script was said to center on a teenage drug lord’s efforts to leave the life of crime he leads.
Not much else was available about the project at the time, except that it was said that Holmes had long been interested in the script, and was one of the first to contact Tupac about producing it, while the rapper was still very much alive, serving his 11-month sentence at Clinton.
Skip ahead over a year, to this morning, when I received an alert of a Kickstarter campaign launched just yesterday, November 20, for this very project.
According to the campaign page, the same group of people who were attached to the project before (Holmes and Juzang of NStar Studios, as well as Afeni Shakur, who’s listed as exec producer), are still very much inolved.
The goal is to raise $250,000 in 30 days, with that initial sum going towards development and some pre-production expenses, like attaching cast (they say that they’ll employ the services of casting director Kim Coleman), legal fees associated with development and pre-production, hire a writer to “polish” up the script and ready it for principal photography, and more.
So, really, it’s to get them past phase one. If you recall, in my May 2011 post, it was said that the estimated budget for the film would be around $11 million. So the $250,000 is just to kickstart the process. It’s not entirely clear if that $11 million figure still stands, and/or how they plan to raise funds for the rest of production.
I can also tell you more about what the film’s story is, because a full synopsis has been given, which reads:
At eight years old, it all went wrong for Scott. The suicide of his father and the family’s slow-motion disintegration helped propel him into the higher realms of organized crime. Young Scott is taken under the protective wing of one of the last gentlemen gangsters, Dee. He is being groomed for the top spot when Dee is ambushed and killed by the mysterious Nickedemus gang. Scott takes over, even though older hands feel he’s too inexperienced. However, Scott proves equal to the task and takes the business into legitimate and community-minded directions. His big advantage over his contemporaries is that he can think his way through to a life past crime. After a while, Scott’s fellow cartel heads, one-by-one, start coming up murdered. Scott realizes that it is only a matter of time before Nickedemus reappears and the blood will start flowing. He makes a decision to get out of the game, reconcile with his family and escape to a new life with his school-years sweetheart, Carla. Events overtake him and Scott is forced to deal with the consequences of his life as a major drug dealer. Scott makes it through to the other side, but not before he sheds his share of blood, toil and pain.
So what we’ve essentially got here is a crime drama. I’m definitely intrigued.
In addition to Holmes, Juzang and Shakur, Dwight Williams – whose resume goes back into the mid-80s, serving as associate producer, producer or exec producer on a number of familiar films like Krush Groove, New Jack City, Poetic Justice, Jason’s Lyric, Baby Boy, Hustle & Flow, and others – is listed as a producer on Live 2 Tell.
The same goes for Preston Holmes, whose resume includes serving as co-producer of Spike Lee films like Malcolm X, as well as producer of other familiar titles like Posse, Panther, and Boycott. He also exec produced Something New (the Sanaa Lathan interracial romance drama directed by Sanaa Hamri).
All this to say that these cats have deep credits, so this is a project to pay close attention to; and we’ll be doing just that from here on. I’m hoping to get to an interview with them to talk about the project, and shed some additional light on it, answering some lingering questions I have.
If you’d like to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, you can do so by clicking HERE; or within the widget below.
It’s not the Tupac biopic that some of you have been pining for; but it’s the next best thing I suppose.