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Tupac biopic lands new director as clock runs down on music rights

A new director has been found for Morgan Creek’s Tupac biopic — and not a moment too soon. Benny Boom will fill the role, with shooting expected to begin soon, reports THR. Production must begin before the end of the year, otherwise the music rights will revert back to Tupac Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur.

Even with the short time frame, Boom seems excited to have joined. He confirmed his involvement via an Instagram post on November 30, saying that he is “blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime” and promising to uphold Shakur’s legacy. Interestingly, director John Singleton dropped out in April, writing on Instagram that those involved weren’t “respectful of the Legacy of Tupac” and announcing that he’d make his own project. Carl Franklin was subsequently brought onboard to helm the film before leaving about a month ago.

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Along with the changes in director, Morgan Creek is facing a lawsuit filed by production company Emmett/Furla Films in late October. According to THR, the company claims that Morgan Creek broke an agreement by failing to get their approval in choosing a lead actor and establishing a budget and production schedule. The lawsuit comes after another involving Shakur’s mother and the film’s music rights.

Hiring on a new director seems to indicate that Morgan Creek is determined to move forward with the Tupac biopic in spite of the setbacks and legal problems. It is likely that the studio hopes to see success similar to this summer’s box office hit Straight Outta Compton, which brought in over $200 million globally. Shakur appeared as a character in the film.

Boom seems like a good fit for the biopic, given his background directing both music videos and feature length films. He has worked with several notable hip hop artists, including Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. He also directed the 2009 comedy Next Day Air, as well as the straight-to-video movie S.W.A.T.: Firefight.