UPDATE, 1:22 PM: Morgan Creek has confirmed Deadline’s report in a news release. It added that LT Hutton also is aboard as a producer and that the film will shoot in Atlanta.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE: Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films is teaming with Morgan Creek Productions to co-finance and co-produce Tupac, creating a new urgency for the long-gestating biopic on the hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur. They are working with a script by Eddie Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft, and a new draft is expected in two weeks. Several companies battled for the rights to partner on the film with Jim Robinson’s Morgan Creek before MCP president David Robinson sealed the deal with EFO. They are eyeing a February start date and a $45 million budget. They have the rights to exploit Tupac’s musical catalog, and his mother, Afeni Shakur, will be a producer on the film.
Born in East Harlem to parents who were members of the Black Panthers, Shakur shot to fame as a hip-hop artist and an actor. That rise started with the release of 2Pacalypse Now. His gruff delivery of politically charged, in-your-face lyrics and willingness to lead the “thug life” made him highly credible in the urban music scene. It also made him a target, particularly when a feud between East Coast and West Coast rappers escalated from insults to gunfire. Tupac was gunned down on a street corner in Las Vegas in 1996, and he died six days later at age 25. Death didn’t dampen his iconic status; like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, it enhanced it. Posthumously, he has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide.
The movie has nearly come together in several previous incarnations with numerous directors and actors circling. Now that the money is in place, they will set a filmmaker quickly and begin casting up the film. They haven’t decided on whether to get an established young actor to play the rapper, or to make a discovery. I could certainly see a guy like Fruitvale Station‘s Michael B. Jordan crushing this one, or Anthony Mackie as well. They also haven’t yet set the film for distribution.
E/F/O’s Randall Emmett and George Furla are coming off the Denzel Washington-Mark Wahlberg hit 2 Guns, and the Sylvester Stallone/Arnold Schwarzenegger-starrer Escape Plan is coming from Summit October 18, followed by the December release of the Peter Berg-directed Lone Survivor, the Navy SEAL drama that will be released by Universal.
EXCLUSIVE: Michael Starrbury has been brought on board to rewrite Morgan Creek Productions’ Tupac Shakur biopic. Starrbury wrote the screenplay for The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, which is premiering at this year’s Sundance … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Rick Nicita has left Morgan Creek, where he spent the past three years as COO and co-chairman alongside MCP owner James Robinson. Nicita, who left a longtime perch at CAA to take the job, left after his contract expired … Read More »
The press releases are flying over the transom and since the deal-making has been a bit slack. Here are a few tidbits.
* Grosvenor Park will once again lend money to film productions, forming UK-based EIS Film Fund to disperse $100 million each year for productions. Grosvenor Park fled from the film-financing scene in 2008, when the economy and the independent film business hit the rocks. The target is films with budgets ranging from $10 million to $30 million. Grosvenor Park will also produce senior, gap and tax lending collateralized by territorial distribution sales and production tax incentives, which was how the company lended to films in the past. “Now is an optimal time to re-enter the film-lending space given the strength of the marketplace and the current industry dynamics as evidenced by a resurgence of sales activity at the most recent film markets,” said GP’s Don Starr.
* Morgan Creek has become a co-financier on Universal’s remake of The Thing. The studio releases Morgan Creek’s films in the U.S. including the upcoming Jim Sheridan-directed Dream House, which stars Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz. The Thing is a prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 classic and it’s directed by Matthijs van Heijningen and produced by Strike Entertainment partners Marc Abraham and Eric Newman. Read More »
Universal and Morgan Creek have put up a trailer for Dream House, the thriller that stars Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts. The Jim Sheridan-directed film will be released September 30. The trailer certainly lays out a lot of the plot and is it me, or is some of … Read More »
The film from Universal stars Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz and will be released in September. Here’s the MPAA release:
LOS ANGELES — The Classification and Rating Appeals Board today upheld the R rating given to the
… Read More »
Though the material market is summer sluggish, WME has managed the neat trick of closing in on three script deals this week, with another on the brink.
The spec in play is Ion, a Will Dunn scifi script that has Channing Tatum … Read More »