A Film On The Murder Investigations Of Biggie & Tupac Is In The Making
Today marks the 20th anniversary (September 7, 1996) of the shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada that would ultimately cost Tupac Shakur his life. With biopic All Eyez On Me hitting theaters later this year, and 2009’s Notorious telling the life story of The Notorious B.I.G. (a/k/a Christopher Wallace), a forthcoming film will examine the investigation surrounding the murders and deaths of both superstar rappers.
Labyrinth, based on the 2002 Randall Sullivan book of the same name, examines the investigation of former Los Angeles Police Department Detective Russell Poole. Poole, who died in 2015 from a heart attack, is credited with one of the leading theories surrounding the 1997 murder of Biggie Smalls. The fatal drive-by shooting took place on March 8, 1997 in Los Angeles, California’s Fairfax district. The victim would die hours later from the wounds.
The Labyrinth film will also reportedly star Johnny Deep (Black Mass, Edward Scissorhands, Pirates Of The Caribbean) as Russell Poole. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) will direct.
Detective Poole’s investigative theory connected Biggie’s murder as a retaliation for the similar drive-by shooting of Shakur, six months prior. In life, the two former friends had become Rap adversaries in music and industry. Poole, who appeared on the documentary Biggie & Tupac (the excerpt is below), became an advocate for Biggie’s mother, Violetta Wallace and the family of the slain rapper. His reports placed blame on Death Row Records and its then-CEO and co-founder, Marion “Suge” Knight. Although the Compton, California native was incarcerated at the time, the reports connected his label and associates with the LAPD and factions of the Bloods street gangs.
Further, Poole’s team introduced onetime suspect Amir Muhammad (a/k/a Harry Billups) as a trigger-man. Muhammad was never arrested. Poole retired in 1999. He would claim in the documentary that his exit was forced, due to closely investigating LAPD colleague and Knight/Death Row associate David Mack.
After Poole’s retirement, officer Greg Kading would lead the investigation of Biggie’s murder, and its ties to Shakur’s killing. Kading’s reports, published in the text Murder Rap: The Untold Story Of The Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur Murder Investigation, and subsequent companion film, proposed different suspects in the deaths of each rapper. According to Kading’s investigation, Biggie was shot by Wardell Fouse (a/k/a Darnell Bolton), and Tupac was gunned down by Orlando Anderson. For Fouse, he was alleged to be an affiliate of Knight and several Death Row insiders—and a Compton resident—the same place he was murdered. As for Anderson, he has been confirmed to be the man Shakur and Knight attacked in the MGM Casino earlier that night. He was also confirmed to be a member of the South Side Crips, and like Knight, a onetime resident of Compton. Both alleged killers have since been murdered in California.
Sullivan’s complete 2002 text title is Labyrinth: A Detective Investigates the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., the Implication of Death Row Records’ Suge Knight, and the Origins of the Los Angeles Police Scandal.
Both murders remain unsolved.