Tupac Resurrected in New Film - Rolling Stone
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Tupac Resurrected in New Film

Director juxtaposes Shakur’s wit and grit

Lauren Lazin got on a plane headed for Park City, Utah, last
Monday, a day later than expected, with a hi-definition videotape
under her arm. The tape held her three-year labor of love,
Tupac: Resurrection, a feature-length documentary on the
slain hip-hop star Tupac Shakur. Lazin and editor Richard Calderon
had finished editing the film over the previous weekend, and it
screened Wednesday evening as part of the Sundance Film Festival —
the first time anyone involved with the film, including Lazin and
Calderon, had ever seen it on the big screen. The response was
enthusiastic — and deafening.

“The film looked really good,” says Lazin, MTV’s longtime senior
vice president and executive producer of documentaries. “The sound
was really good. I’d forgotten how funny Tupac is — there was a
lot of laughter in the theater. Tupac took over. It was his

Unlike the small-screen storytelling that Lazin has produced
over seventeen years at the network, this film was told entirely in
Shakur’s own words, rattled out of his mouth over the course of 115
minutes. “If you’re going to take a film into the theater setting,
your subject has to be big enough for the screen,” Lazin says.
“This guy was a movie star. He can hold that kind of an

“I’ve always wanted to do something different — that wasn’t
Behind the Music, that wasn’t an E! True Hollywood
— a new kind of filmmaking that was told entirely from
the subject’s point of view. There’s no narrator in the film, no
experts, no interviews with other people. It’s all him.”

Lazin chose her subject for this project very quickly. “I could
sense this swelling feeling for Tupac among the younger viewers,”
she says. “Kids who weren’t into music when he was around — really
young kids relating to him and identifying with him, feeling
connected to his story. It was really sort of a sociological
interest: Why do so many people care about him still? He really has
become an icon, and that’s not a term I use casually.”

With the blessing and help of Shakur’s mother, Afeni, Lazin
systematically went through all of the available video, audio and
print material that captures the rapper’s life, cut short at age
twenty-five by an assassin’s bullet in 1996. The result is a
lovingly rendered, warts-and-all look at the provocative star set
to his own music. Tupac’s intelligence and eloquence shine through
as much as his brashness and often unfiltered statements riled

“It was really interesting to me that his mother was a former
Black Panther and that she was really committed to revolution and
change,” Lazin says. “Those were very real words to her. He was the
next generation: How do you carry on that promise? In some ways he
did, and in some ways he couldn’t.”

A distribution deal for Tupac: Resurrection is in the
works, and the film could hit theaters around the country later
this year.


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