Juice’s Director Reveals It Was By Chance That Tupac Auditioned For The Movie (Audio)
In 1991, Tupac Shakur was a relative unknown. At best, for those paying close attention, he had begun to build a buzz after his guest verse on Digital Underground’s 1991 record, “Same Song.” Within 5 years he would become one of the most famous people on the planet, but, on a day in early 1991 when he accompanied a friend who was auditioning for a role in a new movie called Juice, Ernest Dickerson, the film’s director and co-writer had no reason to know who the slight young man was. Dickerson was recently interviewed by the Murder Master Music Show, and he detailed his chance encounter with Tupac, Pac’s impromptu audition, and what it was like to work with the then aspiring actor and rapper.
“One day, Treach came in,” Dickerson commences in recalling that fateful day. “Now, this is before he was ‘Treach.’ This is before Naughty By Nature hit. Treach came in to read for the part of Q, that eventually went to Omar Epps. And, when he came in, he had this guy hanging out with him, this young guy. And, after Treach was done–he did a pretty good job–we said to this young guy ‘What about you? You want to audition?'”
Dickerson continues, saying that the “little, skinny guy” said that he did want to audition, also for the part of “Q,” and took 30 minutes to prepare. The director said the young man did a pretty good job, but “something in what this guy did told me I’d like to him to read for ‘Bishop.'” Again, the young man went away for about 30 minutes to prepare and, when he returned, Dickerson said he asked him his name, and he said his name was “Tupac.”
In detailing what he saw in Tupac, Dickerson says “He had the charisma and he had the vulnerability, also. He had to find that other side of ‘Bishop’ that everybody…Playing ‘Bishop’ as a pure psychotic is one thing, but he’s a damaged kid, and you gotta play that part too. You gotta find that part of it. A lot of people’s instincts didn’t take them there, but Tupac did.” He was intense. He was committed”
Dickerson also talked about Pac’s work ethic on set, saying “He was intense. He was committed.” He also revealed that in between takes, Tupac would go off and write in a notebook what Dickerson believed would eventually become the songs on Tupac’s debut album, 2Pacalypse Now.