The long-awaited biopic of Tupac Shakur has finally begun filming with the lead cast in the right place – Demetrius Shipp Jr. told us how he get’s into character
So what’s it like being Tupac for a day?
We sat down with the newcomer in the Karl Kani headquarter during his fitting and asked him the questions we are all dying to hear…
Someone wrote “Tupac is back!” under his Instagram picture –
The young actor Demetrius Shipp Jr. is not only Pac’s uncanny resemblance, he also landed the job of portraying the late rapper in the upcoming biopic “All Eyez On Me” which is a film based on the live and death of Tupac Shakur. Though, no official announcement was made Demetrius Shipp made his cast public by tweeting and instagramming pictures from the set featuring actors like Jamal Woolard who made his own debut as B.I.G in the 2009 biopic “Notorious”.
You’ve met Tupac when you were young, and been a huge fan ever since – How was your reaction when L.T Hutton asked you to play Tupac in All Eyez On Me?
Demetrius Shipp Jr: My reaction was like …is this real? I really didn’t get asked to get casted in this movie , I got connected to do a cast. I auditioned myself – they had a worldwide cast over the internet.
Not knowing LT Hutton, I auditioned in 2011 sent it to the website and put it on youtube. What happened then was my dad seen it and he had no knowledge of me doing it and he had LT on Facebook and that’s how all this happened. The whole thing got set up and I met with LT. He came down to the office and yeah that was 4 years ago.
You are playing a really important role in the hip hop culture, how do you handle all this pressure right now ?
Important to me is that I do a good job as far as acting.
They are satisfied from what the director and producers tell me.
And people who know him. His whole family came to the set and they have been satisfied with what I’m doing and that let’s me know that I’m in the right direction and that’s what matters to me right know –
that they are happy with what I’m doing.
“I don’t have a limit of what I could do as Pac.
I could be as crazy, loud and obnoxious and people be like: “Oh shit man, that’s Pac!”
Do you have to get in character ?
Not really in character you just get into it the more you start doing it. You kinda warm up and be ready!
…do you ever have to stop being Tupac ?
(laughs) A little bit, because my acting coach told me “you really start become and act like him”. I can’t go from zero to 100 now in a heartbeat.
What is the most exciting part of his life for you right now?
I would say the lifestyle. That’s the most exciting for me especially with the filming because, I don’t have a limit of what I could do as Pac.
I could be as crazy, loud and obnoxious and people be like: “oh shit man that’s Pac!” and that’s a lot of fun.
It’s kind of like sky is the limit, where you could just test the limits…?
Right, there’s yet to be a moment when everybody is like:
“Nah that’s too much”.
I went off on camera I even trick them before the camera. Before we even start rolling I’m cussing the CO’s out, I’m talking shit, I’m kicking chairs over – Im wilding up and that’s where the fun part is for me.
Where do you see your professional life as a new actor after the movie?
I definitely want to do another movie but in-between do I want to do TV show series or do I want to do filming ? My true passion is music. I’m a music producer. Me and my dad have a label, we are partners. We have artists we are working with so it’s going to be a fine mix between me acting and doing music, but as far as the acting – I don’t know exactly what I’m going to be doing.
If you had to wear Karl Kani for the rest of your life, which pieces would you chose and what sneaker would you wear with them ?
First of …I could do that. I could definitely rock Karl Kani forever.
But what pieces? Sweatsuits is my joint and I would wear them with the Air Forces. And oh – the undies, chicks love those! 😉
Tupac is part of the Karl Kani history, what do you connect with the brand personally ?
I admire him and I really love the brand. Its just cool to have somebody of our culture doing the designing and having a good fashion because it ain’t too much of it out there so I’d rather be wearing Karl Kani before I wear something else.
So you are sitting next to the man that has a lot of history as you are sitting here and getting stories has that helped you with the movie ?
Especially his inside on it. The humanity and the kindness of Pac. Everybody has this picture where they portrayed Pac as “he’s just so wild” and “he was always turned up”. But Karl told me that on the inside he was a kind guy and really good at heart, generous. That kind of helps me to be able to have a balance to say, ok it’s not all about being extra wild.
Karl what about you, your history and you dealing with Pac, you got all these pictures and stories – How does it feel to have a carbon copy of him and you are like woven throughout the whole flick in the story ?
Karl Kani: Its legit, it’s crazy! 20 something years later it’s all coming back to life again and we making all the clothes and being able to dress Meech in the same clothing. The story is just really bringing back the element of how Kani was on the streets back then. The whole nostalgia of the clothing. So I feel really good about it and definitely motivated to make all this movie happen and of course the wardrobe for the movie too.
I think its going to be a good thing and a lot of time and energy is being put into it but it’s going to be all worth it at the end.
So you are saying that you are recreating actual pieces that Pac rocked?
Absolutely we are bringing back the exact fit, the look, the fabrics, true vintage pieces that he wore back then. It’s going to be hot!
You think you are ahead of your time on this one?
Yes somewhat but you know fashion has a way of coming back around again so I guess this time will be ahead of the curve…
Until then, fans only have to wait a little bit longer but we are looking forward to see how Tupac’s legacy is being captured on the big screen and more of Demetrius in the near future…
Are you as excited as we are to see the biopic? Let us know!