Tupac Shakur has been portrayed in films for years now, from the MC Hammer docudrama Too Legit to the N.W.A.-focused Straight Outta Compton. But for he most part, he has existed on the margins, a larger-than-life figure operating in the corners of other people’s stories. Now, a little over 20 years after his death, Pac is finally getting a biopic of his own. All Eyez on Me provides a sweeping exploration of the rapper’s short life, interrogating his overlapping roles as artist and activist.
It looks to be more of a warts-and-all portrait than a reverential one, to the film’s clear benefit. Demetrius Shipp Jr. appears to be a force in the title role, stepping into some very big shoes for his onscreen debut. (His father reportedly worked with Tupac on the song “Toss It Up.”) And of course, credit for the nuanced portrayal should go to the film’s director as well. All Eyez on Me is in the hands of Benny Boom, best known for his prolific work behind some of the biggest names in the music business; he’s helmed videos for 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Nicki Minaj, and countless more. His familiarity with the hip-hop scene translates well to this explosive new trailer. We’ll see if the film as a whole lives up to expectations upon its June 16 release.