Despite being one of the best-known musicians of all time, Tupac only appears in one scene in F. Gary Gray's hit N.W.A. biopic, Straight Outta Compton. In the film, the California rapper and cultural icon is seen working in a recording studio, collaborating with Dr. Dre on what would go on to become "California Love." The scene in Straight Outta Compton has emerged as a fan-favorite, in no small part due to actor Marcc Rose's uncanny resemblance to Tupac. Bu Rose wasn't the only actor that helped bring Tupac to life onscreen — Tupac's rapping was done by another actor, Darris Love. With only one scene in Straight Outta Compton, it's curious that the filmmakers went so far as to get two separate people to play a singular role. So, why did two actors play Tupac in Straight Outta Compton?
One look at Rose, 23, and it's easy to see why filmmakers wanted him to play Tupac. He does look eerily similar to the rapper, so much so that the actor has said he gets stopped in the streets regularly, despite Straight Outta Compton being his very first acting credit. After years of being told he resembled Tupac, Rose heard about open casting calls for actors to play Tupac in Straight Outta Compton and moved from New York to L.A. in the hopes of getting the role. "Someone told me they were casting for the movie. I packed all my bags and I just moved to L.A. in the hopes to find and land this opportunity. I went for it," Rose told USA Today.
Rose wasn't just handed the role based on his looks, though. In an interview with Yahoo, Rose insisted he auditioned and was "sweating bullets," just like any other actor. It's unclear how much time Rose had to prepare for the role, or whether or not he had to rap in his audition. It has been rumored that Love was brought on to dub the rapping in the film because Rose simply wasn't up to the task of performing Tupac.
Neither actor has really addressed what happened during the casting process for Straight Outta Compton to explain why Gray used two different actors to play the part of Tupac. Love, however, has stated that he has been working for almost a decade to prepare himself for the role of Tupac, including working on his rapping to make himself sound as much like Tupac as possible. Love, 35, is a much more experienced actor than Rose — he got his start starring as Ray Alvarado on The Secret World of Alex Mack in 1994. It's possible Love's age was a factor in the decision to keep his contribution to the role off screen, but with no official reasoning released, we might never know.
Rose and Love appear to have kept their distance throughout the promotion of Straight Outta Compton, but both actors are outspoken about their desire to star in a Tupac Shakur biopic. Love has been trying to get his biopic, Truth About Tupac, off the ground for years, and has already cultivated a close relationship with Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur. He also went vegan and took up boxing in an effort to transform himself into the rapper, telling USA Today, "It's not one of those roles where you can just act."
Meanwhile, Rose is heavily involved in filmmaker John SIngleton's long-awaited Tupac biopic. Singleton, who worked with Tupac on Poetic Justice (1993), was on set with Rose when he filmed his Straight Outta Compton scene, and has said he wants to make a Tupac biopic with Rose as the star for Morgan Creek. The biopic was in the works, but production delays, legal problems and conflicts with the studio led Singleton to walk away from the project, with Rose following.
Image: Universal Pictures