Progress on Morgan Creek’s Tupac Shakur biopic has been pretty quiet since 2011, when first Antoine Fuqua and then John Singleton left the project in a matter of months. But it hasn’t died down completely, and now it’s taking an important step forward.

Michael Starrbury, writer of the buzzy Sundance drama The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, has been hired to do a new rewrite of the screenplay. (Here’s Germain’s review of Mister and Pete.) The original draft was penned by Steve Bagatourian, Stephen Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson. More details after the jump.

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That long-gestating Tupac Shakur biopic is in need of a director once again, as John Singleton has dropped out of talks to helm. Antoine Fuqua was originally lined up to direct, but left the project due to difficulties with casting the lead role — even a nationwide talent search failed to yield any candidates who passed muster — and Singleton entered negotiations last month.

Now, with the Shakur pic off his plate, Singleton’s next project will be an untitled love story that reunites him with Baby Boy stars Tyrese Gibson and Taraji P. Henson. More after the jump.

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John Singleton in Talks to Direct Tupac Shakur Biopic

It’s been some time since John Singleton made a movie that generated much excitement. (Though some Taylor Lautner fans might argue, thanks to this year’s Abduction.) But he has been looking at interesting movies in the past couple months. First he was mentioned as a possible director for Straight Outta Compton, the biopic of once-controversial rap group N.W.A — though it looks like that movie might go to Craig Brewer or another director.

But now Singleton is also being talked up as a potential director for the Tupac Shakur biopic that no one seems able to make. Antoine Fuqua was attached for some time, and production company Morgan Creek did some real work to keep him on the movie. But he couldn’t cast the lead, and Dreamworks dropped the picture, prompting Fuqua to move on to Hunter Killer. So can John Singleton succeed where Fuqua failed? Given that Singleton is one of the directors who worked with Tupac (on Poetic Justice, pictured above) he seems among the best-suited to make the movie. Read More »

Training Day/Brooklyn’s Finest helmer Antoine Fuqua is set to direct a Tupac Shakur biopic titled Tupac, which will go into production in late Spring/early Summer 2011. The film will be shot on location in Los Angeles, New York, Georgia and Las Vegas and is currently being cast. Here is how Morgan Creek describes the story:

The film chronicles the life and legacy of Tupac Shakur, including his rise to superstardom as a hip hop artist and actor, as well as his imprisonment and prolific, controversial time at Death Row Records, where he was steeped in the East coast/West coast rap war.

Morgan Creek quotes Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur-Davis as giving her blessing to the film, which will be distributed by Universal Pictures in North America. The screenplay was written by Steve Bagatourian (American Gun), and the writing team of Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson (Nixon, Ali, Moneyball). Read the full press release after the jump.

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