Danai Gurira (Michonne on The Walking Dead, aka the best friend to have in a zombie Apocalypse situation) has signed on for the role of Tupac Shakur’s mom Afeni Shakur in the upcoming 2Pac biopic All Eyez On Me.
Casting Gurira—alongside unknown actor Demetrius Shipp, Jr. as 2Pac—is a smart move if the filmmakers are looking to emulate the success of last year’s beloved and profitable NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton.
According to Deadline:
The film covers Tupac’s rise to stardom as a hip hop artist and actor, as well as his imprisonment and prolific, controversial stint at Death Row Records, where he was steeped in the East coast/West coast rap war. It took a long time for this film to make it to the start line. But the timing seems fortuitous after the out-sized grosses of another hip hop origin story, Straight Outta Compton.
There’s a high chance that Gurira will shine as Afeni, who not only birthed Pac but, as a former Black Panther member, was the source of much of his political spirit.
This casting makes even more sense if you’ve seen Gurira’s beautiful performance in Mother of George as a traditional Brooklyn-based Nigerian immigrant struggling to conceive with her husband. Most recently, Gurira wrote the off Broadway play Eclipsed, starring Lupita Nyong’o; another one of her plays, Familiar, debuts in March.
Afeni is keeping close watch as executive producer of All Eyez On Me, which is currently filming in Atlanta and will be directed by the legendary hip-hop video director Benny Boom.
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