Friday, October 22, 2021

Director Explains Why Unknown Actor Will Play Tupac, Billy Porter Recalls Naysayers

tupac biopic

Director Benny Boom explained to Page Six why he wanted an unknown actor to play late rapper Tupac Shakur in his biopic “All Eyez on Me.”

“I feel like I definitely got the right actor to play Tupac,” he said of Hollywood newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr. “It was important to get an unknown [actor] so people can lock into him and his performance versus any sort of baggage that another actor would bring,” Douglas revealed. “This role is just too important for hip-hop culture to mess it up.”

The film was in development for nearly a decade before Boom came on board after two other directors — Carl Franklin and John Singleton — backed out.

“I met [Tupac’s mother] Afeni Shakur years ago,” Douglas told us, “and it is interesting because we had conversations long before the movie was in play for me. And of course I get the movie and she [dies].” So instead, “We spoke to his brother in-law, his sister and various family members, as well as Suge Knight.”

The biopic will focus on the career of Tupac all the way to the fatal drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996. It’s set to be released in U.S. theaters on June 16, 2017, on what would have been Shakur’s 46th birthday.

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billy porter talks show business

Tony Award winner Billy Porter has opened up about his early says as a struggling actor, and recalled the time he was told he’d never make it in showbiz.

“You are black and you are gay,” he recalls being told by naysayers, “and unless you change that, you will not work.”

He went on to say, “When I was in school, I had a high speaking voice, and it was the ’80s, and unless you fit into a very black masculine mold there would be nothing for me to do . . . My voice was too high for the American stage.”

Porter won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in Kinky Boots” at the 67th Tony Awards. For the role, he also won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical.


Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.



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