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Tupac Shakur (1971-1996)

  1. Tyrin Turner, Menace II Society, 1993.      Shakur, aka the rapper 2Pac, had the lead role until having a (literal) fight with director Allen Hughes. 
  2. Omar Epps, Higher Learning, 1994.       A movie star due to John Singleton's Poetic Justic, Tupac was arrested in Atlanta   and charged with shooting two off-duty cops. (The charges were   later dropped). "I really wanted him," complained Singleton, "because he's a black folk hero, I guess the studio has enough controversy to deal with." His replacement came from Shakur's 1991   debut,   Juice
  3. Mykelti Williamson, Forrest Gump, 1994.       Auditioned for Gump’s mate, Bubba Blue: “Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That - that's about it.”
  4. Timmy Davidson, Woo, 1998.       Five days before his sixth movie began, Shakur was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas - second time he had been shot at in two years.  He was 25.  Title role was played by his ex-lover, Jada Pinkett   - now married to Will Smith.
  5. Chris Tucker, Rush Hour, 1998.        The spec script by novelist Ross LaManna in 1995 was first aimed at two black cops, Martin Lawrence - and stand-up Dave Chappelle as Detective James Carter. Then black and white with Lawrence and Chris Farley (who ODed at 33 in 1997). Next Carters included Shakur (murdered at 25 in 1996), Eddie Murphy, Will Smith. Disney hated director Brett Ratner’s final Asian/black duo - Jackie Chan, Chris Rock - and the $33m project moved to New Line. And global glory: $244,386,864. Plus sequels for a total of $849,734,899. Sorry about that, Disney.
  6. Tyrese Gibson,  Baby Boy, 2000. Auteur John Singleton had always envisioned Shakur as  Jody.  Gibson now played him, with a Tupac mural on his wall and his music everywhere.
  7. Samuel L Jackson, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, 2004.


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