‘Tupac’ biopic launches online casting call for lead role
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Calling all Tupac Shakur doppelgangers –- with acting chops.
Morgan Creek Productions along with Skee.TV and Karmaloop.TV have teamed together to launch an online casting call to fill the shoes of the slain polarizing rapper in the anticipated (and oft-delayed) biopic “Tupac.”
The casting call begins Friday. Producers are looking for individuals who think they exemplify 2Pac to upload their five-minute video auditions online by April 30.
Fans are also encouraged to check the website often, as additional announcements will be made. Rare video footage and interviews from Shakur’s life culled from his official site will also be featured.
“We are excited to partner with Morgan Creek on this innovative casting call,” said DJ Skee, a disc jockey for KIIS-FM (102.7) who has a weekly show on Sirius XM satellite radio and is the founder of Skee.TV. “This audition process is a great example,’ the statement continued, ‘of utilizing today’s ever-evolving technology to reach fans and actors around the world to pay homage to a hip-hop legend.”
Directed by Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day,” “Tears of the Sun,” “Brooklyn’s Finest”), the film will chronicle Shakur’s prolific rise as a rapper and actor, his controversial legal troubles which included imprisonment, his time at Death Row Records and, of course, his unsolved murder in 1996.
‘We’re looking for someone with the right mix of raw charm and charisma for the role,’ said producer David Robinson in a statement. ‘At this point, we’re more concerned about finding someone with the ability to give their entire heart into the performance than just looks and personality.”
Those auditioning have to perform a provided monologue that reads like one of his infamous courtroom proclamations of his innocence (or outbursts, depending on who you ask). Auditioners are also expected to perform a one-minute rendition of a 2Pac song of choice. Anthony Mackie (“The Hurt Locker”) previously tackled Shakur’s persona in the 2009 Biggie Smalls biopic, “Notorious.” No word on the approach the producers will take in casting Shakur’s one-time friend and eventual foe. Or how it will handle various theories regarding the massive East/West Coast rap beef that prompted their untimely deaths, both in drive-by shootings which remain unsolved despite the slew of conspiracies surrounding them.
“Notorious” famously took the approach of casting an unknown to play Biggie and landed both a look- and sound-alike in Jamal Woolard -- who coincidently raps alongside Shakur on his seventh posthumously released studio album, “Pac’s Life.”
“Tupac” will be produced by James G. Robinson, David Robinson and LT Hutton, and executive produced by the rapper’s mother, Afeni Shakur. The screenplay was penned by Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson and Steve Bagatourian. Universal Pictures will distribute the film in the U.S. and co-distributes with Morgan Creek International overseas.
Take a peek at the teaser for the project, and as a bonus for all hopeful thespians out there, Pop & Hiss has also kindly included a reference video of Shakur testifying in a 1995 trial. Please remember to thank us in your upcoming Oscar speech.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy