Long-gestating movie about the influential rapper Tupac Shakur is back on track. After long gone from the radar, it's now announced the biopic will start production in Atlanta in February 2014. Morgan Creek Productions and Emmet Furla Films will co-finance and co-produce "Tupac".
LT Hutton is among the producers as well. The late rhymer's mother Afeni Shakur, meanwhile, will serve as an executive producer for the project that has been in development since 2011. The producers, who also own the rights to Shakur's music catalog, reportedly set a $45 million budget.
A new script is currently written by Eddie Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft, who penned the 2011 direct-to-video crime drama "Street Kings II". Earlier script explored Shakur's rise to stardom as a Hip-Hop icon, his imprisonment on sexual assault charges and the East Coast-West Coast rap feud.
No actor to play the rapper who has sold more than 75 million albums has been announced. Morgan Creek previously posted an online casting call that asked fans to film themselves reading a scene from the script and performing their favorite Tupac Shakur song/rap.
While an official biopic is yet to be made, the MC who was gunned down at the age of 25 in Las Vegas in 1996 was previously portrayed by Anthony Mackie in "Notorious", a movie released in 2009 about fellow late iconic rap star Notorious B.I.G.
There were also several documentaries about him, including 2002's "Biggie and Tupac" about his rivalry with New York rapper Biggie Smalls and 2003's "Tupac: Resurrection", but an effort to make a narrative film always fell apart due to creative differences between producers and his mother, until now.
Earlier this year, the mother told Billboard about continuing her son's legacy, "I believe it is our responsibility to make sure that Tupac's entire body of work is made available for his fans. My son left many incomplete pieces and even more unfinished ideas. Using the blueprints he gave us, I am committed to fulfilling this duty."
Aside from the upcoming biopic, a Broadway show inspired by the late rapper is also in the works. Director Kenny Leon says it won't be biopic but will explore an anti-violence, "unconditional love story" featuring the MC's music.
Last year, a bare-chested Shakur was resurrected on stage via a hologram appearance during Dr. Dre's set at Coachella Music Festival. The live virtual performance which also featured Snoop Dogg created a buzz on the web and became talk of the town for weeks.