Tupac Biopic Gains Oscar-Winning Screenwriters

Stephen J. Rivele and Chris Wilkinson have signed on to write script about Death Row superstar's final years.

Antoine Fuqua’s forthcoming Tupac Shakur biopic will soon have a script: Two Oscar-nominated writers, Stephen J. Rivele and Chris Wilkinson, have been tapped to write the screenplay.

The scribes, whose writing credits include “Nixon” and “Ali,” told New York magazine that the film will focus on the late rapper’s final day, with flashbacks of the preceding four years of his life interspersed throughout. Rivele added that the script centers on their perception that Shakur was miscast in the hip-hop world in which he found himself.

“It became clear that he was essentially a 19th-century Romantic poet who found himself in the 21st century,” he explained. “He was a really sensitive, very romantic, talented young poet who also could sing, dance, and act. But the realities [of the hip-hop music business] were that he had to create this persona of the gangster.”

The film is tentatively slated to begin production later this year, according to the magazine. Fuqua has previously said he hopes to find a newcomer to play Tupac . “I want to go to the streets and find him anywhere he might be in the world,” the director said.

In addition to a fresh face, filmmakers intend to offer a new take on the life of the fallen rap star, who was murdered in 1996. Rivele explained that the movie won’t aim to resolve who murdered Shakur, but rather focus on who he was and the person he attempted to be. The movie will push a thesis slanted more toward asking why anyone would have wanted to kill the talented superstar.

“He was obviously very angry, and had been subjected to a great deal of violence at home, in the streets and in prison,” Rivele said. “But he was just beginning to shed that anger and look for a purer voice. … He was in the process of changing himself and entering a new phase of his life — essentially a Romantic vision — and had set up a new label and a new production company to create it. He saw the contradiction between the musical persona of ‘Thug Life,’ and his essential nature as a gentle, sensitive person. And that was partly responsible for his murder: He was not a gangster, but the people around him were. They saw he was going to leave, that they were going to lose him, and so I think they decided to kill him.”

Who would you cast to play Tupac in a biopic? Share your choices with us in the comments section.

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