All eyes are on Tupac Shakur's big-screen biopic, but many don't like what they see.
All Eyez on Me has earned $38.6 million at the box office in two weekends, but has been slammed by a wave of criticism from many who knew the slain rapper (played by Demetrius Shipp Jr.), who died in 1996 at age 25. USA TODAY rounds up the movie's biggest detractors.
On Friday, writer Kevin Powell filed a lawsuit in New York federal court against Lionsgate, Morgan Creek Productions and others, alleging that significant portions of the film are pulled from interviews he did with Shakur for Vibe magazine in the 1990s. The suit demands that the movie be pulled from theaters and that Powell be given a share of its profits. All Eyez is framed around conversations an unnamed journalist (Hill Harper) had with the rapper while he served time in prison in 1995, after being found guilty of sexual abuse.
Jada Pinkett Smith
The highest-profile opponent of the new biopic is Will Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who is played in All Eyez by Kat Graham. Pinkett Smith went to Maryland's Baltimore School for the Arts with the hip-hop icon, who gives her a poem he wrote for her in an early scene of the movie. Pinkett Smith tweeted last Friday, "Pac never read me that poem. I didn't know that poem existed until it was printed in his book. Pac never said goodbye to me before leaving for (Los Angeles). He had to leave abruptly and it wasn't to pursue his career."
She also added that a squabble between Shakur and Pinkett Smith depicted late in the film never happened. "I've never been to any of Pac's shows by his request," she wrote. "We never had an argument backstage." She ended by praising Graham's and Shipp's performances, saying, "You both did a beautiful job with what you were given."
50 Cent was more direct in his criticism of All Eyez, writing on Instagram last Friday, "Man, I watched the 2Pac film, that was some (expletive)" and adding that the film is "trash." The G-Unit rapper was featured on Shakur's posthumous album Tupac: Resurrection in 2003 on the song The Realest Killaz.
Boyz in the Hood director John Singleton helped develop the long-gestating biopic about his close friend, but dropped out in 2015 because of creative differences with the studio. The filmmaker has repeatedly blasted the movie, most recently calling it a "debacle" on The Big Tigger Show. "They just made a movie. They didn't think of it as a cultural event," Singleton said during the radio interview. "They didn’t think in terms of something that affected our generation. That’s why I’m really upset.” He went on to compare it to Lifetime's much-maligned 2014 biopic Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B. "They made the Aaliyah version of Pac — worse than that."
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