After losing the N.W.A. biopic to a lineup of potential helmers, Vulture lets us know that John Singleton may be getting something of  consolation prize from Universal Studios. As they report, he’s negotiating with the studio and Morgan Creek to direct their biopic of Tupac Shakur — the same project that had Antoine Fuqua attached for over a year before he left, partly due to a difficulty in finding someone to play the rapper. The script has been penned by the Nixon and Ali team of Stephen J. Rivele & Chris Wilkinson, and a polish was conducted by Broken City writer Brian Tucker.

They’re now eyeing Singleton, a man with a personal connection to the subject. While he directed Shakur in the 1993 film Justice, the two of them managed to hold a friendship after shooting on the project had completed. (Vulture provides a funny video of them racing one another for an episode of BET’s Rap City.)

A personal touch would probably be helpful with what’s sure to be a tough story about a difficult life. It should also make the casting more reliable than expected; if he knew the actual man, picking someone to play him might be an easier process than the last attempt. Might it be Tyrese Gibson? That would at least be interesting.

Despite this connection, some might express concern over Singleton coming aboard; Abduction can have this effect on many directors. That notwithstanding, I’m inclined to give the guy a break here — he can portray poor urban life better than most people, as shown with Boyz n the Hood, and nailing that down is essential to properly telling this story. I’ll take that over Fuqua‘s mixed bag of directing skill any day.

Does Singleton seem like a good fit for a Tupac biopic?

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