Can a 2Pac biopic be said to be truly authentic, if the rapper isn't depicted getting bufued four times in a prison out near the US-Canada border (i.e. prime bufuing territory)?
It's hard to say, because I don't know for a fact that Pac was ever "tampered with," but John Singleton seems to be convinced that he was. In interviews to promote All Eyez on Me, which was released this past weekend, producer L.T. Hutton and director Benny Boom revealed that the reason John Singleton, who was once attached to direct the film, was let go was because he wanted to include a rape scene.
Hutton, who was a producer for Death Row Records around the time All Eyez on Me the album was recorded, was dead set against including a rape scene, presumably because it would have ruined Pac's reputation, and maybe because he thinks it didn't happen? It's not clear from the few articles I read. And I would imagine Pac's mother, who died last year and was a producer on the film, would have been against such a scene, despite the fact that bufuing was used as a disciplinary measure in the Black Panthers, of which she was a member, if only because no one likes to think of something like that happening to their child.
I've heard, from people who have actually seen the film (I'm waiting to see it on a jailbroken Fire stick, per 50 Cent's advice), that Afeni Shakur isn't listed as a producer on the final version of the film. I don't think the film was made until after she died, so this must have been a matter of whoever's in charge of Pac's estate now (hopefully not some ne'er do well cousin) having a problem with it.
It could be that they felt that the film sucks balls(z). It's got a 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which... I'm not even sure how a film gets a 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes is a scam. No matter how garbage a movie is, it'll still have a guaranteed fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And then you go and look at the reviews, and all of the positive reviews are from critics no one ever heard of. How come those people couldn't have given All Eyez on Me a positive review? Is it because 2Pac was black?
In an interview with HipHopDX, John Singleton says he won't be seeing All Eyez on Me, but he already knows the movie isn't any good. He describes the problem he had working on the film as a matter of producers wanting to meddle with the film's content—which doesn't necessarily contradict the reason L.T. Hutton gave for why Singleton was removed as director.
Which raises the question: Why was John Singleton so adamant about showing Pac having his manhood so viciously taken away from him, in a film that ended up being released on his 46th birthday no less? Is it because he has proof that it really did happen, and he felt it was an important part of the story? (It would explain why Pac was so adamant about blaming Biggie for the Quad Recording Studios shooting, rather than the people who actually did it, as Funkmaster Flex has pointed out.) Or could it be that he has a personal problem with Pac, and he wanted to make Pac look like a bitch?
Singleton directed 2Pac in Poetic Justice, his big followup to Boyz in the Hood, and he may have been upset that Pac was widely regarded as the only good thing about that movie. (Was there brief Regina King nudity? I can't remember anymore.) Pac was supposed to be the lead in Higher Learning and ended up being replaced by Omar Epps. This was explained as being a matter of Pac having too many problems with the law. In All Eyez on Me, this is depicted as Singleton promising Pac a role in his next film and then taking it away for no good reason, leading to financial woes for the rapper. Poetic Justice isn't mentioned at all.
While it seems that Singleton was right about All Eyez on Me not being any good, if the reviews are any indication (it's also being trashed on Black People Twitter), it may come to be viewed as a success for Hutton, Benny Boom et al. regardless. It made $27 million this past weekend alone, which I'm assuming, based on the trailer, was about five times its budget. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw more of these rap movies, and who knows, they might even let Benny Boom direct another one. I mean, if that many people saw this Pac movie. If they need someone to work on the script, for an exorbitant fee, they're certainly free to hit me up. I worked at a rap magazine for five years, which officially qualifies me as an expert in the field. I don't have time to write as much as I used to, but this wouldn't require me to put forth much effort anyway.