This may be an esoteric entry, but this 2010 Korean film is all but guaranteed an American remake. Lauded director Kim Ji-woon follows an amoral killer (think Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men) as he dedicates his life to destroying a police officer for no good reason. While some of the roles described herein require a slow burn, this one opens with the character brutally murdering a woman, then showing no pause as it continues to take us into this man’s sick world. Tupac could wear his rage like a mask in this one and completely fly off the handle, like a clinically insane cinematic version of “Hit ‘Em Up.”
So far, none of these entries are starring roles. Man on Fire, however would feature Tupac in Denzel’s role (cause haven’t we seen Denzel play this type enough?) affording Tupac to run both hot and cold, as a sentimental man kicking ass with purpose, while hinting at, and occasionally showing his softer side, despite a background as an assassin.
It’s easy to want to slide Tupac into any one of many African-American starring roles, but this one would have played very well, allowing him to play both hard and soft at the same time, offering an interpretation of the character that we hadn’t seen before.
If Eminem could do it in 8 Mile, I think Tupac would have been orders of magnitude better in conveying his own life story. Sure, it’s not much of a reach, but trying to another person playing such an icon is borderline impossible. Not that it can’t be done, it’s just very hard to imagine anyone conveying Tupac’s fire and wit with such natural ability as the man himself.
While Tupac would certainly have been able to branch out from playing fictional hip hop stars, I feel that this Vince Vaughn/ Jon Favreau vehicle would have given Pac the perfect opportunity to flex his comedic muscles while still playing the badass that he has portrayed in his music. Further, it’s not hard to imagine Tupac as a dude named “Ruiz.”