The director of HBO’s forthcoming Tupac Shakur biopic was shocked at how much the star, Demetrius Shipp Jr., looked and seemed like the late rapper. “This kid was Tupac,” Benny Boom said of Shipp in a “First Look” feature HBO released on Tuesday.
Shipp has long been aware of the uncanny resemblance between him and 2Pac; he has said that people started to call him “Pac” as early as high school. But it was definitely a shock for Boom, director of the forthcoming film All Eyez on Me.
“My assistant came and said, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this, but Tupac is in the lobby,’” Boom says of casting Shipp. “This kid was Tupac, in every sense of the word.”
This personal similarity isn’t the only connection between the actor and Pac; Shipp’s father also mixed and produced the rapper’s 1996 track “Toss It Up” off The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, his first posthumous album.
Shipp’s portrayal of 2Pac looks like it may be eerily good. Check out this clip from the film, in which Shipp impersonates Tupac’s moves in a performance.
Hopefully, this movie will put out of our collective minds the last time the entertainment industry tried to recreate Tupac performing — the infamous Coachella hologram in 2012 — which also had a striking resemblance to Shakur and was a pretty disquieting tribute.
2Pac will be Shipp’s breakout role, though he’s also acted in the TV movie #unlock’d, which is still in the post-production stage.
Obviously, Tupac is still alive on an island somewhere, so he’s gotta be following the production of his biopic. Hopefully, he approves of his lookalike.
All Eyez on Me will come out on June 16 (Tupac’s birthday).