Rights to Tupac Shakur’s only screenplay, which the late hip-hop artist wrote while in jail on weapons charges, has been acquired by Preston Holmes and Ivan Juzang’s NStar Studios. Shingle plans to put “Live 2 Tell” into production early next year.
Holmes, who collaborated with Shakur’s mother to make documentary “Tupac: Resurrection,” will produce “Live” along with “Hustle and Flow” producer Dwight Williams. Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur, will exec produce.
NStar pegs the budget at $11 million and hopes to start production in the first quarter of 2012.
Script tells the story of a teenage drug lord and his efforts to leave a life of crime. Shakur, who starred in films including John Singleton’s “Poetic Justice” before the artist’s death in 1996, wrote the screenplay during an 11-month sentence at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y.
“This kid was a genius, and the net of it is, he was from this community, he knew the struggles these young people were dealing with,” Juzang, whose urban advertising and market research firm MEE (Motivational Educational Entertainment) Prods. will work on “Live,” told Variety. “And he’s able to talk to young people in 2011, 2012, the same way he was able to talk to young people in 1995.”
Holmes, who first became interested in “Live” while working as a production prexy at Polygram Pictures-based Def Pictures, first reached out to Shakur about the script while the rapper was still serving his sentence at Clinton.
“We think that the name we need is the name we have, which is Tupac Shakur,” Holmes said.