By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 7, 2011 at 12:57PM
A double whammy of major moves for director Antoine Fuqua, which sees one highly anticipated project put on hold, and another high profile movie move forward. 24 Frames reports that Fuqua has dropped out of the long-gestating "Tupac" biopic and is eyeing "Southpaw," a boxing drama starring Eminem instead.
First up, there's no word yet on why Fuqua has left "Tupac" though his departure is expected to put the brakes on the film. Set to shoot later this year, it had been slowly coming together over some time when earlier this year, it was announced that it was gearing up for a spring or summer shoot. An open casting call went out for the lead role and then word pretty much dried up on the film. The participation of Tupac's mother Afeni -- whose approval is crucial to the film getting made -- was in place largely thanks to Fuqua, and while details are scarce now, we're sure more details will crop up about what happened soon.
But moving on, Fuqua is now eyeing "Southpaw." First announced late last year, the film is written by "Sons Of Anarchy" creator Kurt Sutter and it's basically an "8 Mile" redux but with boxing instead of rapping. It chronicles the rise of a lefty welterweight all the way to championship title as he battles various tragedies in his personal life that are said to be "informed by struggles in Eminem's own life." Sigh. Well, at least Marshall Mathers will know the character inside and out. The plan is for "Southpaw" to shoot later this year, though both director and rapper still need to be locked down.
Of course, whether or not this will happen remains to be seen. Fuqua has been attached to a number of projects since "Brooklyn's Finest" including the sci-fi action flick "Afterburn," the spy thriller "A Consent To Kill," the prison escape movie "The Tomb" (which had Arnold Schwarzenegger circling recently) a Chinese language historical epic and apparently a Pablo Escobar biopic. He's also been mentioned as a possible director for "The Wolverine." We're sure Fuqua wants to get moving on something soon, but it will be interesting to see which one gets out of the gate first.