I saw this post on John Singleton’s Instagram page last night, and I actually wondered if his account had been hacked, so I didn’t publish it immediately, because I wanted to be sure that all this really came from Singleton; and, as of this morning, it looks very much like these are indeed the man’s words. I love when those on the *inside* are willing to be candid with those of us on the *outside*, on the goings-on behind the curtain that most of us will never ever be privy to.
On the heels of news yesterday that Singleton had exited the long-in-development Tupac Shakur feature project, to be replaced by Carl Franklin (read my post on the matter here), Singleton took to social media last night to share his side of the story.
First, a quick recap…
Last week Friday, I shared details of an interview that Singleton gave to XXL magazine, in which he shared that his involvement in the Tupac film had been put “on hold,” as some key items apparently still hadn’t been completely worked out: “I’m putting my involvement on hold right now because we’re trying to figure out some things… I got a script and I got the blessings from his family. We’ll see…. We’ve got to get it right.”
He didn’t say what exactly is causing the hiatus; he didn’t explain what “things” they’re still trying to figure out, other than to say: “It’s a very intimidating because, like I said, you just want to get it right. I think the picture is not going to be good unless it’s offensive to some people. So, whenever you make a movie, you always have different elements that people have their say about. But when I’m making my movies, John Singleton movies, it’s really just my voice. So I can’t be listening to all the other suggestions of all these other people and shit. So we’re not going to pull the trigger on that until it’s right. If somebody else wants to do something different then they can do something different. But if it’s going to be right, it’s going to be right. It’s going to be something that potentially adorns ‘Pac’s legacy.”
So, as I inferred last week, from what he said, in short, the hold-up is because he has a specific vision for the film which others of influence apparently don’t share. Note again that he said his involvement was put on hold, and not the project itself, so, as I also noted previously, I wasn’t surprised to learn yesterday that he had indeed left the director’s seat which Carl Franklin has now officially taken over.
News of that director switch quickly traveled, and some hours later, Singleton eventually spoke publicly about it, via his Instagram page, saying the following: “Real talk! The reason I am not making this picture is because the people involved aren’t really respectful of the legacy of Tupac Amaru Shakur. I won’t say much if you want you can read my articles in Hollywood Reporter on authenticity in Black Storytelling … To Pac’s real fans just know I am still planning a movie on Tupac … It doesn’t matter what they do mines will be better… Tupac was much more than a hip hop artist … He was a black man guided by his passions … Of most importance was his love of black people and culture … Something the people involved in this movie know nothing about… Real talk! How you gonna make a movie about a man when you suing his mother to get the rights to tell his story?! They have no true love 4 Pac so this movie will not be made with love! And that’s why my ass isn’t involved ! If Tupac knew what was going on he’d ride on all these fools and take it to the streets… But I won’t do that … I’ll just make my own project. What Yall think about that?!!”
The most damning item in what he said above that I certainly wasn’t aware of, is that the studio behind the film, Morgan Creek (I’m inferring) is suing Afeni Shakur for the rights to Tupac’s story. That’s something I think we all need to know more about. On the surface, it sounds incredulous, but maybe there are indeed some rights issues that Morgan Creek apparently believes its entitled to, enough that the studio would actually sue Tupac’s mother for them. If anyone reading this is more informed on this matter than I am, feel free to enlighten the rest of us, or you can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if necessary.
But it sounds like a legal battle is brewing here – assuming one isn’t already at its peak. And if what Singleton says here is entirely accurate (and I don’t think there’s any reason for us to believe that it’s not, given the risk he’s taking by speaking out against it publicly, and the claims he makes), then he’s absolutely right to challenge the production of this film. It’s not one that I would want to see, given the conditions under which it is being made. And if any filmmaker working within the Hollywood studio system today is best equipped to make a film about Tupac, it just might be Singleton, given that he had a personal relationship with the late beloved rapper/actor.
I’d expect Morgan Creek to respond to Singleton’s accusations, so I’ll be on the alert for any press releases.
I did receive an email this morning from a tipster who shared Singleton’s Instagram post with me, as well as the name and photos of the actor that the director had already selected for the part. His name is Marcc Rose. He must be a newcomer because he doesn’t even have an IMDB page yet (there are a few Marc Roses – with 1 “c.” He spells his name with 2). His Twitter page (which is probably about to get some attention) says that he’s signed with the ICM agency, so he obviously has representation. But I couldn’t find any mentions of previous work that he’s done.
And with Singleton now apparently off the Tupac project, I have to wonder if Rose is still the man for the lead role, or if his involvement was contingent on Singleton directing the film.
Here are 2 photos of Mr Rose, who does look like Tupac: