Hollywood is hot for biopics! Yesterday, I opined on the Marvin Gaye biopic “Sexual Healing.” Now, it’s “Tupac’s” turn. “Tupac,” the long-awaited biopic about hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur, will begin filming this February in Atlanta, according to Deadline.com. Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur, will be a producer on the project and has allowed for his music to be used. Afeni Shakur’s involvement is a good sign (She’s also a producer in the forthcoming Kenny Leon-directed Shakur musical “Holler If Ya Hear Me.” Yep, Pac’s coming to Broadway!). In 2011, I attended a celebration in Atlanta for what would’ve been Shakur’s 40th birthday. His family was very involved and the packed event drew support from celebs including Erykah Badu, Rick Ross and Mike Epps. Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films and Morgan Creek Productions are financing this $45 million film, Deadline.com reports, but who’ll play Shakur? Anthony Mackie, who already starred as Shakur in 2009′s “Notorious,” comes to mind for many. Because of this some fans want a fresher face. “Fruitvale Station’s” Michael B. Jordan (I loved him as Wallace in “The Wire”) or another “The Wire” star, Jamie Hector, who shined as drug dealer Marlo, are suggestions. (I also loved Hector in “The Wire.”) Hector is skilled enough to bring Shakur’s intensity to “Tupac” but at 37, he may be aged out as the rapper was 25 when he died in 1996. The film also has yet to name a director. Four or five months until they begin shooting, eh? They better get moving. In the meantime, check out Johnson and Hector in “The Wire.” Do they have what it takes? [Watch here]
Here’s what else is buzzing.
Taye Diggs and wife form arts camp for girls: This is another story for my smile files. Actor Taye Diggs and his wife, actress Idina Menzel, started “Camp Broader Way,” an arts camp to help inner-city girls find their creative voice. I’ve attended day camps (hated it!) and gone camping as a Girl Scout (loved it!) but would’ve loved to have gone to a “Camp Broader Way”! (This may have helped me break out of my shyness much sooner). Check out the talented couple on “Today” and how “Camp Broader Way” is changing lives.
Coming Soon: Gabby Douglas biopic: In other biopic news, Lifetime is currently filming a movie about Olympic gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas. “The Gabby Douglas Story” is set to air next year. Imani Hakim, who played younger sister Tonya on “Everybody Hates Chris,” will star as the teen-aged Douglas while Sydney Mikayla will play the younger version. Regina King is cast as Douglas’s mother, Natalie Hawkins, and S. Epatha Merkerson as Douglas’s grandmother (Merkerson also stars as Marvin Gaye’s mother in “Sexual Healing”) Lifetime really has become more invested in black-centric movies. Over the past year, the network’s released biopics “Betty & Coretta” and “Abducted: The Carlina White Story” along with the “Steel Magnolias” remake and “Twist of Faith.” Clearly, Lifetime and OWN are vying for black women’s eyeballs. Sure, Douglas is only 17, but her performance at the 2012 Olympics captured the world’s attention and could serve as inspiration for many, even the good and grown. Check out this funny clip of Hakim from “Everybody Hates Chris.” [Watch here]
The Hot List: Who/What’s Hot, Not
HOT: Macy Gray as guest DJ today on “The Queen Latifah Show” (Girl, where have you been? We miss you!)
NOT: Ignorant and hateful racial remarks hurled at Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri and the real possibility that she would be considered “too dark” to be Miss India (Apparently ignorance is a worldwide problem.) .
HOT: “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes adopting her third child, a baby girl (Congrats! Checkout Rhimes’ tweet).
NOT: Chicago named as the U.S. murder capital (Something’s got to give!).
HOT: Magic Johnson creating a youth program for at-risk kids in Chicago (Fingers crossed that this will have a positive impact).
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.