Demetrius Shipp Jr.
All eyes on him…
Atlanta native Demetrius Shipp Jr. may be the spit of legendary West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur, but the connections are more than surface deep – Shipp Sr. produced Shakur’s ‘Toss It Up’, while Shipp Jr. went deep to portray Tupac in biopic All Eyez On Me, an attention-seizing debut performance. “I’ve caught the acting bug. I love it. I’m going to do even better in my next role.” How did you get involved with All Eyez On Me?
I auditioned back in 2011. My friend convinced me to do it, so I submitted it through Facebook and YouTube. My father had seen it, so he shared the video with [ producer] L.T. Hutton.
How did you prepare?
The biggest thing was watching so much footage and doing my best to duplicate the mannerisms, the body language, as well as doing extensive research. I had to get into the Shakespeare, to study the Black Panthers, it was deep. I wanted to know the human side, what he was like when he woke up, the side that nobody could see.
How much did you learn about Shakur making this film?
It gave me insight into the man, the person, the things that he was dealing with, the choices he made, but why he made those choices. I never knew he was engaged. I didn’t know the relationship between him and his mother. I never knew he was sitting in jail with a number one album during a sodomy case. There’s so much to the story that people don’t know,
I believe we capture it well.
I’ve currently got some things on the table. The next role is pivotal to where I go with my career as an actor, so I want to take the right thing. I want to take something that propels me. I want people to be like: “OK, now this man is serious about his craft.”
ETA | 30 June / All Eyez On Me opens late r this month.