Sylvester Stallone is writing and will direct and star in a film about corruption in the LAPD and the murders of rap stars Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls.
Elie Samaha’s Franchise Pictures will produce the pic.
Stallone is eyeing a Sept. 1 production start for the drama, which threads together a number of controversial recent events.
Stallone will play a real-life LAPD detective, Russell Poole, in the pic, which has the working title “Rampart Scandal.” It will be told from different perspectives, in the vein of “Rashomon.”
Pic begins with Poole’s investigation of the murders of Shakur and Smalls. It follows Poole — who vows to Smalls’ mother he’ll finger her son’s killer — as he unravels the intrigue and coverups surrounding the crime.
Stallone is talking with record mogul Suge Knight about playing himself in the pic.
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Jeff Wald and Mark Skelly, who shepherded the material through development, will also produce.
Mikko Allane wrote an earlier version of the script.
Pic marks the latest teaming of Stallone and Franchise, which produced such pics as “Driven” and “Get Carter.”
The project “scared off a lot of people,” Stallone told Daily Variety. “Elie was one of the few people who had the insight and temerity to step up.”
The circumstances surrounding the murders of Shakur and Smalls continue to generate fierce debate.
Poole is featured in Randall Sullivan’s book “Labyrinth: A Detective Investigates the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, the Implication of Death Row Records’ Suge Knight, and the Origins of the Los Angeles Police Scandal.”
He also appears in Nick Broomfield’s recent documentary “Biggie and Tupac”; in that pic, Poole lays out the theory that Knight is responsible for Shakur’s murder.
“Rampart” is “the story of one honest cop, at a time when the whole country is corrupt,” Wald said.
Stallone has directed various films, including three installments of the “Rocky” franchise.