Director Allen Hughes, who helmed the award-winning HBO documentary “The Defiant Ones,” has closed a deal with Tupac Shakur’s estate for a five-part docuseries for which he will have full access to all of the late rapper’s released and unreleased recordings, writings and poetry, according to an announcement from his rep. The announcement says the series will be “the first definitive, comprehensive project on Shakur with the full cooperation of the estate.” A rep for the estate confirmed the deal.
Hughes will direct and is an executive producer with Lasse Järvi and Charles D. King. Tom Pellegrini is a producer and the production companies are Interscope Films and MACRO. A rep for Hughes declined to provide further information.
Hughes himself worked with Tupac in the early 1990s, directing a video (with his brother, Albert Hughes) for the rapper’s early hit “Brenda’s Got a Baby.” However, the two got into a fistfight in 1993 that resulted in the rapper being sent to jail for 15 days.
The dispute came about after Shakur was cast in the Hughes brothers’ breakthrough film “Menace II Society.” They argued with Shakur over his character during a script reading and the rapper left the film.
The fight actually occurred later, during the shooting of a Spice1 video connected to the film. Tupac and Hughes reportedly began arguing again and the rapper and/or his entourage seriously beat up the director. Hughes pressed charges for assault and the rapper was found guilty in 1994, but was sentenced to just 15 days.
Still, asked by MTV News outside the courtroom what advice he had for fans, he said, “Think about it. A fist fight becomes battery in the courts. Two and a half minutes just cost me 15 days.”
Asked last year during an interview with JOE TV about the assault, Hughes said, “What the beef was over … [Shakur] experienced massive fame [at the time] because of [his role in the film ‘Juice’ and his second album, and his diet — few people know this — consisted of weed, chicken wings and Hennessey. Not a great mix! And that was it. On one level, Tupac was one of the sweetest people I ever met. He apologized in Vibe magazine [a few] months before he died. I didn’t really come to peace with it until I was done with ‘The Defiant Ones.’ ”
Tupac, who was murdered in 1996, figured heavily in “The Defiant Ones,” which looked at the careers of former N.W.A member and producer Dr. Dre and former Interscope Records chief Jimmy Iovine, both of whom worked with the rapper.