WHAT: The first teaser for All Eyez On Me, the Tupac Shakur biopic that was greenlit almost immediately after Straight Outta Compton made a zillion dollars.
WHO: Newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr. stars as Tupac, while Danai Gurira plays the “Mama” immortalized in “Dear Mama.” Music video director Benny Boom helms the project, and–in a cool bit of synergy–Jamal Woodard (who played the Notorious B.I.G. in 2009’s Notorious) reprises his role as the rapper here.
WHY WE CARE: ’80s and ’90s hip hop are territory that Hollywood is eager to mine, and while there aren’t many stories as dynamic as the rise and fall of NWA, the life and death of Tupac Shakur is definitely among them. (Also: Can we get a TLC movie, please? What’s that? Oh right. Well, a better one, then?) Because of how the movie business works, All Eyez On Me is set up to determine whether Straight Outta Compton was the start of a big-money trend, or a one-off that managed to hit up the right time and place. Focusing on Tupac is a good place to start, though–as the teaser makes clear, the tension between Pac as the radical artist that made him such a singular figure and as the self-destructive, angry fella with “Thug Life” tattooed on his belly who would end up murdered young is fertile ground for cinema. Whether rap movies end up being the new superhero movies or not, Tupac has occupied a superheroic role in our culture for two decades now, and telling his story in the dramatic, big-screen way this teaser indicates is a fitting way to honor the mythology of Tupac we’ve been building since his death.