Menace II Society Director Allen Hughes Will Make A New Tupac Docuseries
In 2017, director Allen Hughes directed The Defiant Ones. The HBO docuseries traced the lives of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, who would make millions (and later billions) together at Death Row Records, Aftermath Entertainment, and Beats Music. The N.W.A. co-founder and onetime Chairman of Interscope Records were interviewed, as were Eminem, Ice Cube, Kendrick Lamar, Bruce Springsteen, and Trent Reznor. The work earned a Grammy Award and five Emmy nominations.
Hughes, who co-directed 1993’s Menace II Society with brother Albert, has now signed on to give the life of Tupac Shakur a similar treatment. The Hollywood Reporter confirms that Hughes reached an agreement with the late rapper, actor, and activist’s estate for a five-part series. Per Deadline, the deal grants Hughes access to all of Pac’s songs (released and unreleased), his writings, and poetry. Tom Whalley, who was an Interscope executive that signed Pac in the early 1990s, is believed to be responsible for his artistic holdings.
Shakur died in 1996 following a Las Vegas, Nevada drive-by shooting. In the year prior, he had released a Dr. Dre-produced #1 single, “California Love” on Death Row, a label that Dre co-founded with Marion “Suge” Knight.
In real-life, Allen Hughes knew Shakur. The rapper who had appeared in Juice was originally cast to play “Sharif” in Menace II Society. However, a quarrel developed, reported after Shakur requested a different role. That dispute ended with his abrupt exit from the cast after a table-reading. Reportedly, Pac wanted the role of “O-Dog,” played by Larenz Tate.
That dispute escalated to an altercation on the set of Spice 1’s music video for “Trigga Gots No Heart,” which was part of the film soundtrack. That assault, which the later boasted about while as a guest on Yo! MTV Raps, eventually landed Pac in jail for 15 days in 1994.
In 2013, celebrating the film’s 20th-anniversary, Allen Hughes told MTV’s Rap Fix, “If [Tupac Shakur] had been in the movie he would’ve outshined everyone. As wonderful a performance as Larenz [Tate] was, I think Tupac… it would’ve thrown the whole axis of the movie off if Tupac was in it, because he was bigger than the movie.”
Interscope’s film division is confirmed to be involved in the upcoming five-part series. However, a network or platform has not yet been announced.