Director Benny Boom has opened up for the first time publicly about director John Singleton’s unsavory remarks about the upcoming Tupac biopic, All Eyez On Me. The film chronicles the life and legacy of Tupac Shakur, including his rise to superstardom, as well as his imprisonment and controversial time at Death Row Records.
Titled after Shakur’s 1996 fourth studio album of the same name, the film stars Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Tupac and co-stars Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan, Hill Harper and Danai Gurira. It was released on June 16, on what would have been Shakur’s 46th birthday.Singleton departed the project in April 2015, saying “the people involved aren’t really respectful of the legacy.”
“I haven’t watched it and I refuse to watch it.I know that they f*cked it up so I’m not even trying to give it any attention,” he said.While speaking with activist Deray Mckesson, Singleton gave insight into his attachment to the biopic and why things fell through.
“I didn’t want to make it for many, many years,” he explained. “First of all, people wanted the story to be told, but I was so close to him. I was too close to tell the story of it. You have to remember, at first we had a working relationship and then a brotherhood.I saw other directors come on and something clicked in me saying I wanted to do it. I told the company if y’all muthaf*ckas want to do this, you gotta get the f*ck out my face and let me do this movie.”
Boom recently sat down with GQ to discuss the biopic, Pac’s legacy, and John Singleton. When asked what he makes of Singleton’s comments, Boom said:
I know John, and this is the first time I’m speaking about it publicly. But I feel like we have brothers who you think are supposed to support, and they don’t support. The community we have of directors of color is very small. I’m not saying you’re supposed to go out and cheerlead for everybody. But there needs to be support. And support sometimes just means not saying anything. I would never take shots at my brother. I’m not gonna do that because I know how detrimental it is, especially to someone who laid the groundwork and opened up doors. I respect John for that. John was nominated for an Academy Award as director, for screenplay and director. Brother [Barry] Jenkins won Best Picture, but we still don’t have the Best Director win.
I just felt disappointed about the rhetoric. I understand he’s disappointed in the process. But Tupac was not happy with every single person he came in contact with by the end of his life, and we know this. The Hughes brothers, John. There’s several people out there who he spoke openly about not being friends with.
This project is happening the way that Pac wants it to happen, and there’s nothing that’s gonna stop it. At the end of the day, what God has for you, can’t nobody take away from you. So John has to understand that God did not line this project up for him. That’s it. And if he was to understand that, then he would stop talking about it. We’ve talked on the phone and communicated about it. I’ve expressed my disappointment, and that’s all I can do. At the end of the day, I got a movie coming out June 16, and that’s what I need to be focused on.
Read Benny Boom’s full interview on GQ.com.