Long-awaited Tupac biopic set for 2017 release

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Tupac Shakur

A long-awaited biopic on slain rap legend Tupac Shakur is set for release in mid-2017, the film production company said Tuesday.

“All Eyez On Me,” named after the title of one of Tupac’s albums, will come out in US theaters on June 16, which would have been the rapper’s 46th birthday, Summit Entertainment said.

The movie project was announced nearly six years ago with previous participants to include John Singleton, a director closely linked with hip-hop culture whose previous films included 1993’s “Poetic Justice,” a drama starring Tupac and Janet Jackson.

But the film underwent a series of personnel changes and missed a goal of release in time for the 20th anniversary of Tupac’s still murky 1996 killing in Las Vegas.

“All Eyez on Me” was ultimately led by veteran music video director Benny Boom. Tupac will be played by little-known actor Demetrius Shipp, Jr., whose father was a producer for Tupac.

While Shipp has no major acting credits, a trailer for “All Eyez on Me” showed that he has a startling physical resemblance to Tupac, who was slender with an expressive, mustachioed face.

“Why I took on this role is to give people a side of him that they never had. To really get a great understanding of him and his life, and why things ended up the way they did,” Shipp told hip-hop magazine XXL last year.

Tupac, who died at age 25, remains one of the most influential figures in hip-hop, retaining a global following for his emotionally intense lyricism and theatrical flair.

“All Eyez On Me” will come out two years after the box-office success of “Straight Outta Compton,” the biopic of another major Southern California hip-hop outfit, gangsta rappers N.W.A.

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