McQueen to direct authorized Tupac Shakur documentary

Lindsey Bahr
Associated Press

Los Angeles — Academy Award-winner Steve McQueen is set to direct a documentary about Tupac Shakur. Shakur Estate trustee Tom Whalley and Amaru Entertainment said Tuesday that the film is fully sanctioned by the late hip-hop artist’s estate.

McQueen is best known for directing “12 Years a Slave,” which won the best picture Oscar in 2014 and earned him a best director nomination.

The director said in a statement that he looks forward to working with Shakur’s family to bring his unvarnished story to life. Shakur’s aunt and late mother’s sister Gloria Cox will serve as an executive producer.

“Few, if any shined brighter than Tupac Shakur,” said McQueen, who hinted there was some overlap between himself and Shakur during his time at NYU film school in 1993.

Whalley hopes that the documentary will help take Shakur’s legacy beyond “the refraction of the headlines, the controversy, and the tragic way his life ended.” Shakur died in a still-unsolved drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996, at age 25.

Cox said that the genesis of the project started with Shakur himself in 1996 and was something that his mother Afeni Shakur continued pursuing until her death last year.

“Our goal has always been to tell the true story, which has never been done before in such a complete way. My sister always said to me, ‘We are not in the business of defending Tupac. Our job is to allow him to be seen in the most complete way, so his actions, his choices, and his words will allow him to speak for himself,’” Cox wrote in a statement. “I believe this film will do exactly that.”

No release date or timeline was announced for McQueen’s documentary. The director hasn’t released a feature film since “12 Years a Slave,” but has the Gillian Flynn-penned crime drama “Widows,” starring Liam Neeson, on his schedule.

Shakur’s legacy is having a moment in Hollywood movies. The prolific artist will also get the biopic treatment in “All Eyez on Me,” which hits theaters on June 16. Newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr. is playing Shakur.