Biopics are notoriously hit or miss. For every Ray – there are a dozen others that never should have been made - a visual reminder that not every story can be accurately recreated on screen. When it comes to artists the bar is even higher, raised by the expectations of living family members and anxious fans. So when it comes to the memory of legends like Tupac Shakur, well, the stakes are even higher.
Arguably one of hip-hop’s most enigmatic and outgoing personalities, for many the “California Love” artist was more than his music, a hip-hop prophet capable of switching effortlessly between Black Panther rhetoric and carefree classics like “I Get Around.” It’s a contradiction that All Eyez On Me tiptoes around, as newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr. steps into the shoes of Shakur.
Bolstered by the success of films like Notorious and 2015 hit Straight Outta Compton, a biopic on Shakur’s life has long been overdue. Gunned down at just 25-years-old, it took over two decades to bring his story to life, thanks in part to a revolving door of directors that included the dismissal of veteran John Singleton. Now the film is finally here, raking in over $27 million during its Father’s Day debut last weekend.
Clocking in at over two hours long, Benny Boom’s vision opens with Shakur behind bars, sentenced to over four years for a sexual assault he insisted he didn’t commit. He speaks with writer Hill Harper as the film unfolds, the audience watching as he transforms from a talented youth at the Baltimore School of Performing Arts - where he met Jada Pinkett-Smith, portrayed by Kat Graham - to a rising star navigating his way through the streets of California.
Read the full story at Houston Style Magazine - June 2017