We got the chance to attend the screening of one of the most highly anticipated films of this year, All Eyez On Me, and a press conference following after. We felt that the movie certainly did live up to its high expectations and ranks just as high as Straight Outta Compton and even Notorious.
Demetrius Shipp Jr. stars in the lead role as Tupac Shakur and Kat Graham is his costar as Jada Pinkett Smith. The two were in attendance at the movie press conference in Atlanta last week alongside the movie’s producer, L.T. Hutton.
“For me, I was passionate about telling the story behind the man and telling the story that makes him human so you can really not make excuses, empathize, and compel and just give you a deeper insight, not one long music video,” said L.T. Hutton at the press conference.
The biopic begins with showing the viewer just exactly who Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, was. It takes you through some of her pregnant life with Shakur and highlights how she was a very active and committed member of the Black Panther Party who ended up raising her children with some of the same morals along the way. When asked what political issues did Shipp think Tupac would have supported, he explained how since he was brought up into the height of racial issues in America that he feels that Tupac would have eventually ran for president. This film provides a rather elaborate back story that allows the viewer to immediately latch on to it just from the opening credits. It is detailed enough to provide the public with the knowledge they need to understand Tupac’s mind and is refraining from a giant history lesson all at the same time. It takes you through the coarse of some of Tupac’s early life with acting and being enrolled at the Baltimore School for the Arts alongside Jada Pinkett Smith. This provides the perfect backstory for people who did not know much about the rapper’s pre celebrity and personal life. It also details just how much him and Mrs. Smith truly cared for one another and how they first met.
Graham explained how she was more than honored to play the role of a young Jada and wanted nothing more than to portray an accurate depiction of someone that she considers an idol. “This is their life and the memory of that friendship and that relationship,” she said. She even shared how her and Mrs. Smith conversed on the phone for some time and she was given the okay in the end.
During the film, Tupac moves around a lot after his father get’s locked up in jail after being wanted by the cops and getting found by them on Christmas Day. The family moves to Baltimore, Maryland and that is where he met Jada and his life began to change forever. However, due to unforeseen circumstances he is forced to move again but this time without his mother and this is when Tupac decides to move out. He takes acting classes for the time being and his coach lands him an audition which started his career in the music business.
He went from starting off as a roadie, backup dancer, and MC for the group “Digital Underground” and then went solo. He later signed with Interscope Records and then landed at Deathrow records after getting out of jail for sexual assault charges later in the film. The film shows the typical trials and tribulations of the music industry and how he was faced with money troubles for some time. He made friends along the way that he was warned of because of their deceitfulness but he kept them anyway. This led to him being robbed and shot 5 times by three men in the lobby of Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan, New York. As the film moves along, the dates are shown at the bottom of the screen to give people a date and timeline for how his life played out. This was very helpful and made it easier to follow along.
The film was a duration of 2 hours and 20 minutes long and seemed to capture each event with justice and grace. For anyone who doesn’t know much about the entire story of Tupac and only knows him as an iconic rapper from the 90s, then you’re in for a treat because this movie has it all. Hutton said “We have a piece of product out here and this is not fluff, that is not, you know, over personifying or perpetuating the nonsense.” The cameras captured the blood, sweat, and tears of Tupac’s legacy and showcased him in the best authentic light. It celebrated his life and opened up the doors for the new generation to feast on.”The holy trinity that this film was created in was who Tupac was, who he wanted to be, and who he had to be to survive the world that he was in,” Hutton went on to say. Even though Demetrius had his critics along with the film as well, he seemed to be the only man in the world fit for this role and after the movie hits theaters across America on June 16th, which is Tupac’s birthday, the world will be reintroduced to the man that made history known as Tupac Shakur.
Make sure to see the movie in theaters on July 16th!
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