While he has received tons of posthumous praise for his music, Tupac Shakur was also a very promising talent in the film world, despite a paucity of decent roles. Even without more high-profile roles, he was able to give stirring performances even in substandard fare, which, unfortunately, is all we have to judge him on.
His early turns in Juiceand Above the Rim demonstrated that he could play a depraved badass better than just about anyone. Further, I have the lingering feeling that Tupac was a pretty funny guy. Now, it’s a leap to assume that a funny person would be a solid comedic actor, but, I think he could have given it a go.
With that in mind, here are a few roles that Tupac could have nailed if he had not have been gunned down by Suge Knight/Crips/Teamsters/Cubans/The CIA/Biggie.
One comedy role that Tupac would have been very well-suited for is one of the henchmen sent to dispatch Franco and Rogen in Pineapple Express. While Danny McBride and Craig Robinson did well with the role, the film was always on the verge of feeling genuinely dangerous, but never got there. Tupac’s presence would have pushed it over the edge. All things considered, he could have made Beverly Hills Chihuahua a harrowing experience.
While Dwight Yoakam did a great job as the most unhinged of the three criminals that terrorize Jodie Foster and her daughter, as Tupac showed in his compelling performance in Juice, watching him dissolve as a story unfolds is an unparalleled experience. We see Raoul refuse to walk away, ultimately taking down anyone who stands in his path. Tupac has demonstrated the same ferocity in both his music and a handful of his roles, and the idea of seeing him play what is essentially a pit bull off its chain sounds promising.
Yes, Tupac could play a role originally performed by Josh Hartnett, thank you.
Of course, many of the Sin City characters didn’t have proper names, so this role is probably more familiar as “the character that Josh Hartnett played.” Seeing Tupac in such a stylized film would allow audiences to witness him taking his badassedry to an entire new level, while allowing him to ham it up as well. In his short filmography (10 films/roles) we never got to see the rapper go over the top with his persona in Scarface-like fashion. Granted, the role of the man requires a lot more quiet restrain, but certainly allow Tupac the opportunity to play up the “cool” that he had in spades.