*In 1996, he was 8 years old.
Today, he has been honored with emulating the unequaled legendary Tupac Shakur in “All Eyez On Me” which came in number 3 at the box office with $27.1 million behind Disney’s “Cars” ($53.5 million) and Warner Bros. “Wonder Woman” ($40.8 million).
LA native, Demetrius Shipp, talked to EUR correspondent, Fahnia Thomas, about landing the role every actor dreams of.
EUR: There is a thin line between imitation and nuances, when you’re playing the role of an icon, how did you find a balance?
Demetrius Shipp: At no point did we want to imitate Tupac. Embodying his essence was more so the objective. We went into his world…what he clung to, what he was seeing, and experiencing. Then applied it, in the realest and purest form, along with my own life connections.
EUR: What kind of research did you do for this role?
Demetrius Shipp: I looked at as many videos of Tupac, I could possibly find. I literally learned the interviews verbatim and the mannerisms. Me and my acting coach went inside the life of Tupac…his evolving as a man, his childhood, him and the Black Panther Party, the books he read, and music. I learned everything.
EUR: How did Benny Boom and LT Hutton help you with this character?
Demetrius Shipp: LT provided the information. He wrote this movie from Tupac’s point of view and a lot of the stuff – which is true – is out of Tupac’s own mouth. He kind of narrates his own story…if you go and look at the right things. LT had interviews with the family and intimate details.
EUR: Tupac had a massive catalog of music, films, and poetry. What is your favorite?
Demetrius Shipp: “Dear Mama” because it always makes you feel a certain way about your mom. “Shed So Many Tears” because it is one of the realest and raw rap songs ever and “Can’t C Me” because the energy on the song is amazing, it’s unmatched!