With the clock ticking on Morgan Creek’s Tupac Shakur movie, the company is in the midst of hiring music video and commercial director Benny Boom to helm.
The company, which has been working for years to bring the late rapper’s story to the big screen, is operating with a sense of urgency given that the music rights will revert back to Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur, at the end of the year if the film isn’t in production by then. Carl Franklin was poised to direct as recently as the summer, picking up the baton after John Singleton dropped out in April and trashed Morgan Creek in the process.
“The people involved aren’t really respectful of the legacy of Tupac,” Singleton wrote on Instagram, promising to make his own rival project.
But things continued to move forward until Franklin quietly exited the project amid a fresh round of intrigue that surfaced about a month ago. In late October, producers Emmett/Furla filed a $10 million lawsuit against Morgan Creek, saying the company breached a co-production agreement by selecting a lead actor and setting a budget and production schedule without Emmett/Furla’s approval.
It wasn’t the first time the project had become entangled in a lawsuit. The studio sued Afeni Shakur for the music rights to the film.
Given the success of another rap biopic, Universal’s Straight Outta Compton (more than $200 million worldwide), a Tupac film was seen as particularly attractive. Tupac’s life story — which includes his rise to multiplatinum-selling artist and his mysterious death — is seen as one of the most tempting.
The Tupac character has appeared twice in film — in 2009’s Notorious and Straight Outta Compton — both supporting roles played by Anthony Mackie and newcomer Marcc Rose, respectively.
Boom has previously directed two features — Summit’s 2009 action comedy Next Day Air and the made-for-home-video action movie S.W.A.T.: Firefight — but has made a name for himself in the commercial and music scene.
Boom won video director of the year at the BET Awards for his work with artists such as NIcki Minaj, Lil Wayne and Meek Mill.
He is repped by ICM Partners, Principato Young Entertainment and Del Shaw.