All eyez on Tupac biopic litigation

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All eyez on Tupac biopic litigation

Thu Feb 19, 2009 @ 04:05AM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Tupac_amaru_shakur We've got a story in THR today about a lawsuit filed by production company Morgan Creek against the estate of Tupac Shakur over a planned biopic about the late rapper. Story is here, and here's the complaint filed in LA Superior Court on Tuesday by Patti Glaser.

On the heels of the is-there-or-isn't-there-a-deal fight over "Push," here we've got another situation where one party (Morgan Creek) thinks a deal for Shakur's life rights was done and the other (Amaru Entertainment, run by Tupac's mom) thinks it wasn't. Who's right? Are these cases the start of a burgeoning trend? And when is a deal a deal anyways?

UPDATE: On 2/20, Amaru issued the following statement in response to our story:

We at Amaru Entertainment would like to clarify some of the recent media reports concerning a lawsuit filed by Morgan Creek Productions.  This lawsuit has no merit. We felt it was important to bring the story of Tupac Shakur, one of music’s most remarkable icons, to life onscreen; and in realizing this vision, we sought to find the best partner who would be true to Tupac’s vision and bring his unique story to life on the big screen.  In doing so, we have taken every step to ensure that our partner in this process is committed to the integrity of Tupac Shakur’s legacy and, more importantly, that they are the right people.   To that end, we have been in discussions and negotiations with several major studios and production companies, including Morgan Creek Productions.  However, at no time did we have an agreement with Morgan Creek. Sadly, Morgan Creek decided to take advantage of this situation and attempt to frustrate our project by interfering with our business relationships.  We will not be frightened by Morgan Creek’s tactics and we are absolutely confident that the movie will be produced and released. Tupac’s story is what Hollywood legends are made of – and we want to make sure that the movie tells Tupac’s story like it should be told and lives up to everyone’s expectations. “Tupac touched so many people in his brief life and it makes me feel honored in keeping his message alive.  And I want to do so with integrity - in the right way with the right people,” says Afeni Shakur.  “That’s what Tupac would have wanted.”

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to

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