(FOX 11) - Call it the role of a lifetime, and it all hit him that first day on set. Demetrius Shipp Jr. is the unknown actor who took on the role of iconic rapper, Tupac Shakur.
Shipp Jr., however, is no stranger to West Coast rap. His father even produced Tupac Shakur under Death Row Records.
In person, Shipp Jr. is sweet with an inviting smile and we shared an L.A. camaraderie. On screen, his body, shaved head, and mannerisms on stage, transform him into Tupac. Shipp Jr. says the hardest part was nailing Pac's deeper voice.
Shipp Jr. takes his new-found-fame with a serious depth and understands the weight of his big screen role. His favorite Tupac song is "Dear Mama."
In its opening weekend the Tupac biopic faced the critics. It also came in third at the box office surpassing expectations and bringing in an estimated $27-million.
While director Benny Boom never met Shakur he says he grew up in hip hop and says the story is his story too. Producer L.T. Hutton says the movie aims to show what influenced a young Tupac and what motivated him into becoming a Hall of Fame rapper even though he only lived to be 25.
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