MTV NEWS: Murdered rap star Tupac Shakur came back to life
on the nation's movie screens this week, winning critical
praise for his work in the new film "Gridlocked,"
in which he and Tim Roth play a pair of heroin addicts trying
to clean up. Judging by the five movies he made before he was
shot and killed in Las Vegas last year, Tupac's greatest
talent may have been for acting. Here's a quick
TUPAC as BISHOP, from "Juice": Everything starts
from now. We all go down unless we stay together.
ERNEST DICKERSON, Director: What makes Tupac so dynamic as
an actor is that he puts himself into it. He had some
training you know when he was younger, and uh, actors, the
best actors always have to dig deep down inside themselves. A
lot of times what they give you onscreen is part of them. And
that's something that Tupac has always done.
MTV: Tupac Shakur's film roles were often variations on
his real life thug image, but by mot accounts, he brought
depth and authenticity to parts that could have been
TUPAC as LUCKY, from "Poetic Justice": This here
is kind of cool. I ain't ever seen so many black folks in one
spot and there ain't no fight.
MTV: "Gridlock'd" is about two heroin addicts
struggling to go straight, is Tupac's posthumous entry into
the acting big leagues, starring opposite Oscar nominee and
independent film darling, Tim Roth.
TIM ROTH: The media portrays addicts as faceless objects.
And I think that what's interesting about this is that you,
you go on a journey, and you discover these people. And
they're human, you know. They're three dimensional, and
they're not just a waste of time and space.
VONDIE CURTIS HALL, Director: He loved him. He'd seen
every movie Tim had done. He's like "I just really want
to work with Tim, man." And, this movie is a different
kind of movie. It would show a different Tupac, and it does.
He's completely different in this picture, than he was in any
OWEN GLEIBERMAN, film critic: It's interesting to watch
him in this movie and see that he radiates a kind of warmth
and humanity and modesty almost completely at odds with his
image as a rapper.
MTV: Tupac does rap in "Gridlock'd," but even
the film's music provided room for growth.
HALL: It's a great soundtrack. Tupac has about five new
songs on it . One of the songs Tandy does from spoken word,
Tupac does spoken word with her.
HALL: Tupac never got to see the film. He was, he was
coming back to do some looping, and to see the, see the
picture the following week. And the three of us were actually
going to be in the studio together.
ROTH: The day after.
HALL: Yeah, the day after and: you know, I spoke to him.
He went to the MTV awards. "I'm going to do the MTV
awards." And, it was like Wednesday, and then... 'I'm
going to see Mike fight on, on Friday, and then I, I'll see
you guys on Monday. Monday or Tuesday, and you know...
ROTH: And that was it.
MTV NEWS: The "Gridlocked" soundtrack, by the
way, contains Tupac's last collaboration with Snoop Doggy
Dogg, a cut called "Out The Moon." Tupac the actor
will be on view again in the fall, co-starring with James
Belushi in a movie called "Gang-Related."
Meanwhile, Tupac's murderers remain at large... And Suge
Knight, the head of his label, Death Row Records, remains in
jail awaiting sentencing February 28th on a parole-violation
One last, happier hip-hop note: the Fugees will be
spending the summer in Jamaica and Brooklyn, appearing in a
sequel to the cult-classic 1973 reggae movie, "The
Harder They Come." Original star Jimmy Cliff is back on
board, and the new film's title, inevitably, is..."The
Harder They Fall."