Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. TV Pilot Picked Up USA Network
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network ordered the pilot for Unsolved, a scripted true crime series following the still unsolved murders of the hip-hop icons. Specifically, the story will follow former LAPD detective Greg Kading as he investigates the murders. Kading wrote a book about the unsolved murders of Pac and Biggie, Murder Rap: The Untold Story of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations. He'll act as a consultant and executive producer on the show as well.
The show will be written by Kyle Long (USA's Suits) and directed by Anthony Hemingway, who also was behind the acclaimed series, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
This show comes on the heels of an announcement of yet another Big and Pac project, a film which was picked up by Open Road Films and will star Johnny Depp as Detective Russell Poole, a “disgraced LAPD detective who has been unable to solve the slayings of the rival hip-hop artists for two decades,” according to EW. That film began production this month and will be directed by Brad Furman, who also directed the thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer. That project will also be based on a book, this one on Randall Sullivan’s non-fiction book, Labyrinth: A Detective Investigates the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., the Implication of Death Row Records’ Suge Knight, and the Origins of the Los Angeles Police Scandal.
So basically, look for not one, but two Biggie and Pac murder stories to hit both the big and small screens respectively in the next year or so.
This news is of added significance, particularly because the 20th anniversary of Pac's death just passed in September and the 20th anniversary of Biggie's death is coming up in March. While Big's life was explored in the 2009 biopic, Notorious, which generally received lukewarm review, a film about Pac's life has yet to hit the big screen, as his biopic, All Eyez On Me, is still on hold, though it will probably see the light of day next year.
Although it sounds as though this series will primarily focus on the murders of the lost hip-hop icons, here's hoping the network has the foresight to include knowledgable hip-hop historians while crafting the series, so that authenticity isn't left by the wayside in the quest to put a story with admittedly sensational aspects on screen.
No word yet on when the USA pilot will debut.