You had to know a Tupac biopic was coming. Thus far, two actors have played Tupac in movies: Anthony Mackie in the 2009 Biggie Smalls biopic Notorious and Marcc Rose in the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton. (I suppose there might be others, but those are the only ones I can think of.) And sometime soon, we’ll see Pac take center stage in his own movie, which has the title All Eyez On Me. This time around, the role will go to Demetrius Shipp, Jr., a man who has barely any acting experience — his only credited role is in the in-production made-for-TV movie #unlock’d — but who looks exactly like Pac.
As Miss Info points out, TMZ reports that producer L.T. Hutton approached Shipp to play the role simply because he looks a whole lot like Tupac, and that Shipp went on a four-days-a-week acting-class crash course to get his chops up. He’s pictured above with Jamal Woolard, otherwise known as the Brooklyn rapper Gravy. Woolard played Biggie in Notorious, and he’ll once again reprise the role in All Eyez On Me. I think that’s weirdly fascinating. Woolard was fine in the badly-scripted-but-otherwise-OK Biggie movie, but he doesn’t look or talk that much like Biggie, and he has little of his innate magnetism. Still, someone in Hollywood has decided that Woolard is the only person on the planet qualified to play Biggie.
Morgan Creek Productions is handling All Eyez On Me, and the music-video veteran Benny Boom is directing it. The movie is expected to come out next year.