*Morgan Creek Productions and Emmett/Furla Films announced in a Thursday news release they are in final negotiations to partner on the production of “Tupac,” the delayed biopic of late rapper Tupac Shakur.
The picture, to be executive produced by Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur, will begin filming in February in Atlanta. Afeni, who also runs Tupac’s estate, has given the film rights to Shakur’s extensive music catalog.
The producers are working with a script by Eddie Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft, with a new draft expected, according to the Los Angeles Times. Still no word on who will star as the rapper or who will direct.
In 2011, Morgan Creek was developing the film, with Antoine Fuqua attached to direct, That draft of the film chronicled Shakur’s prolific rise as a rapper and actor, his legal troubles, his time at Death Row Records and, of course, his 1996 killing, which came at the height of the East Coast-West Coast rap rivalry.
*Afeni Shakur, mother of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur, has reached a settlement over the $2.2 million she said her son’s estate is owed in the bankruptcy case of Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight.
Earlier this month, a bankruptcy judge ruled that Afeni will receive a claim of $668,121.76 in Suge Knight’s bankruptcy case. In 2006, Knight and Death Row filed for bankruptcy protection.
The claim Afeni is collecting is the amount of an arbitration award she won for Death Row’s breach of a 2003 settlement agreement related to the unauthorized distribution of her son’s songs.
Additionally she sought $500,000 for the unauthorized licensing of certain songs, $750,000 in attorneys’ fees and at least $300,000 in lost profits.
Since Tupac’s passing, Afeni has been acting as head of his estate and has kept a close eye on the use of his songs, image, name and the release of any new material.
*A stage musical featuring the music of late rapper Tupac Shakur has been put on hold due to a lack of available theaters on Broadway.
Director Kenny Leon put together the project, titled Holler If Ya Hear Me, with the blessing of the rapper’s mother, Afeni Shakur. The producers have raised the funding, and Leon has workshopped the production three times. The show is ready for Broadway, Leon told the Wall Street Journal, but just needs a home because “there’s a backlog in available theaters.”
The non-biographical show features a love story set to the rapper’s songs, and Leon is adamant the musical’s anti-violence message will prove popular when it finally hits the stage.
“Some people look at hip-hop and they think they hate everything black or they think they hate everything that uses profanity, or they think it’s about gun violence,” Leon said, calling Tupac a “prophet.”
“When you look at the lyrics of his music, he was always talking about universal things like honor, betrayal, family,” Leon said. “He was just trying to talk about life and say something about the country and being an American and raising a family here.”
Leon is also full of praise for his multi-talented cast, adding, “We had to have a group of actors that could sing, that could rap, that could dance – that could do hip-hop dance as well as straightforward Broadway musical dance. We had to have a good mix of 24 people who could do it all, but above all we needed actors who could tell the story.”
*The mother of late rapper Tupac Shakur says she will release his ”entire body of work,” including all of his unreleased tracks following his death in 1996.
“I believe it is our responsibility to make sure that Tupac’s entire body of work is made available for his fans,” stated Afeni Shakur. “My son left many incomplete pieces and even more unfinished ideas. Using the blueprints he gave us, I am committed to fulfilling this duty.”
Tupac was killed in a drive-by shooting in 1996 at age 25. Afeni, who runs the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which helps underprivileged children receive an education – was the head of her son’s estate following his death, but has since handed it over to Jampol Artist Management (JAM), who have dedicated themselves to preserving the star’s legacy.
JAM founder Jeffrey Jampol added: ”It’s our responsibility, and our privilege, to ensure that new generations of fans experience the power of Tupac’s music, his ideas and his storytelling.”