Monday, April 27, 2015

Tupac Shakur: 'A 19th century Romantic poet who found himself in the 21st century'

Tupac Shakur, the rapper (and soulful actor) whose fatal and unsolved 1996 shooting has been subject to as much speculation as that of JFK, is now the subject of a biopic from Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) from a screenplay by Philadelphia-born bio-scribes Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson (Nixon, Ali, Moneyball, Untitled Jackie Robinson Project).

Tupac Shakur: 'A 19th century Romantic poet who found himself in the 21st century'

Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur, the rapper (and soulful actor) whose fatal and unsolved 1996 shooting has been subject to as much speculation as that of JFK, is now the subject of a biopic from Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) from a screenplay by Philadelphia-born bio-scribes Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson (Nixon, Ali, Moneyball, Untitled Jackie Robinson Project).

Rivele, who admitted to New York Magazine's Vulture that he knew nothing about Shakur prior to research, is the source of the quotation about him being a 19th century Romantic poet who found himself in the 21st century" (or at least at the cusp of it, as Shakur died in 1996). Interesting angle for the violence-dogged Shakur, the only musical artist to have a number-one album while in prison. With his gaunt face and melancholy eyes, Shakur resembled an El Greco saint. He made a striking film debut as a troubled neighborhood kid in Ernest Dickerson's Juice (1992) and was Janet Jackson's lyrical mailman beau in John Singleton's Poetic Justice (1993).  Shakur was sensational as the Detroit musician trying to kick his addictions after his girlfriend's overdose in Vondie Curtis Hall's improbably funny Gridlock'd (1997), posthumously released and showing the rapper's unexpected comic skills.

Your thoughts on Shakur as an MC, actor, activist? What does his life and death tell us about late 20th century America? Casting ideas? I'm thinking Bow Wow.

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Carrie Rickey Film Critic
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