It's Morgan Creek vs. rapper's mom, Afeni Shakur.
A biopic of Tupac Shakur has hit a major pothole on its way to the big screen. A legal tug-o-war over the project is being waged between Morgan Creek and Amaru Entertainment, the company run by Afeni Shakur, the late rapper's mother and executor.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Morgan Creek alleged in a Los Angeles Superior Court filing that Amaru backed out of an agreement to sell his life rights for a film adaptation.
Negotiations between Morgan Creek and Amaru began in November for life rights that would form the basis of the untitled project. Life rights and collaboration with an executor are not always necessary with a public figure like Shakur, though they would be essential if the filmmakers hope to include music, as they would in this case.
According to the complaint, a written contract was in place for life rights, with Morgan Creek claiming that Amaru is "refusing to honor and perform a contract of a production of the film based on the life of Tupac Shakur." The company seeks damages and other relief.
But late Wednesday, Amaru's lawyers denied the existence of a deal. "There is no agreement with Morgan Creek, there never was, and there never will be," said Amaru attorney Skip Miller, adding that the court filing is an attempt to force his client's hand.
Miller said negotiations for a biopic on the controversial rapper were under way at several studios and that Morgan Creek attempted to sabotage those talks with threats of litigation. "They have scared away Paramount, Fox and others, and we are going to sue them and recover millions (in damages)," Miller said.
Those familiar with the case said that negotiations broke down in January, after Fox Searchlight released "Notorious," a
biopic about Shakur rival Notorious B.I.G., and the movie underperformed at the box office.
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