The forthcoming Tupac biopic just got another piece to the puzzle. According to Deadline,  Danai Gurira from The Walking Dead is set to take on the huge task of playing the rapper’s mother. As previously announced, Demetrius Shipp Jr. is playing Pac in the Benny Boom -directed film.

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Afeni Shakur (who is an exec producer on the film and the keeper of the flame on her son’s estate), Gurira plays a complex woman. A political activist and member of the Black Panthers, Afeni raised her son to be a voracious reader with a political awareness that informed his development as a street poet. 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. The film is produced by James G Robinson and David Robinson of Morgan Creek Productions, along with LT Hutton.

Gurira’s other screen credits include The Visitor and Mother Of George. She’s also an award-winning playwright: her play Eclipsed, which opened off-Broadway with Lupita N’Yongo starring, moves to Broadway in March, and her play Familiar opens off-Broadway in March.

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