Report: Tupac hologram could go on tour

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With Tupac Shakur’s reincarnation at the closing night of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday night continuing to dominate headlines on the blogosphere, the inevitable question of what’s next for the “performer” has become a steady buzz. Now it seems that the ghostly image of the rapper, murdered more than 15 years ago, could hit the road for a tour.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting representatives for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, who anchored the closing night of first weekend of the annual three-day festival, are discussing the logistics for a possible tour involving the two as well as the virtual image of Tupac.


Coachella 2012: Tupac ‘responds’ to his reincarnation

Though it’s been touted as a hologram, it is actually a projected 2D image created by the Digital Domain Media Group. The company that has offices in both L.A. and Venice combined today’s technological advances with a visual trick called Pepper’s Ghost that originates to the 1800s.

‘This is not found footage. This is not archival footage,’ Digital Domain’s chief creative officer Ed Ulbrich told the Wall Street Journal. ‘This is an illusion.’

Although a rep for Snoop Dogg said the rapper was unavailable for comment, a source close to Dre’s camp said the veteran rapper was contemplating how to further use the technology — which reportedly costs in the six-figure range — for a possible tour and that a number of promoters were invited to the Coachella set to see how Tupac’s appearance played out. The Journal said one possiblity could be a stadium tour featuring a cast of hip-hop heavyweights including Eminem, 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa, who all made real-life guest appearances during Dre and Snoop’s set, or a smaller tour featuring the two headliners and virtual 2Pac.

Dre spearheaded the re-creation, according to Digital Domain, and worked closely with Philip Atwell of Geronimo Productions and Dylan Brown of the Yard Entertainment. Digital Domain is also responsible for crafting the CG likeness of Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Jeff Bridges in “TRON: Legacy,” and Rooney Mara for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

Reps for Digital Domain said that although they spoke to Wall Street Journal they want to preserve the mystery and magic of the mechanics “just a little bit longer,” given that Weekend 2 of Coachella kicks off Friday. They declined to speak to The Times and other publications.

A spokeswoman did say the company has been “thrilled by the response” — as well it might be, since the Journal also reported that the company enjoyed a 15% boost in their stocks, the biggest uptick it’s had in 2012.


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— Gerrick D. Kennedy @gerrickkennedy