John Singleton is not here for the new Tupac biopic All Eyez on Me, and let his feelings be known while on a panel at ComplexCon. When asked if he had seen the trailer, Singleton, who originally was slated to direct the film, said he refuses to watch it.
“I haven’t watched it, and I refuse to watch it. I know that they f**ked it up, so I’m not even trying to give it attention. I didn’t want to make [the film] for many, many years. First of all, people wanted the story to be told, but I was so close to him. I was too close to tell the story of it. I saw other directors come on and something clicked in me saying I wanted to do it. I told the company if y’all m****af**kas want to do this, you gotta get the f**k out my face and let me do this movie.”
While speaking with civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson about his history as a filmmaker, Singleton said he wanted to make a movie that not only showcased Pac’s musical impact but also his political activism.
“Serious, his soul wasn’t going to rest unless this film was done right. It’s not about just some rapper. It’s about a dude who was raised to be a revolutionary. He may not have been the next Malcolm X, but he had the potential to be a great leader in this country. He didn’t want that responsibility and was taken down by a lot of different forces that a lot of people really don’t know about.”
Singleton, who directed Tupac in Poetic Justice in 1993, said he wrote a great script, but was eventually phased out of the project because he didn’t see eye to eye with the production company.
“I did the research which was talking to everyone around him who lived it and selectively piecing together their memories and my memories cause everyone wants to make Pac who they wanted them to be. They want to make the Tupac story that involves them and not the Tupac story. I did a great script and I thought they were going to go forward with it, but because I’m so mouthy and opinionated, some people don’t like to work with a black man in Hollywood who has an opinion. I knew they weren’t going to make a good movie at all and they didn’t.”
The film, starring Demetrius Shipp, Jr. as Tupac, Danai Gurira, Lauren Cohan, Jamie Hector and Annie Ilonzeh, is now being directed by Benny Boom from a script written by Ed Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft. In September, on the anniversary of the late rapper’s death, a teaser for the movie was released. No official release date has been announced.