Outlaw: The Saga Of The Shakurs a five-part docuseries will dive into the lives of Tupac and Afeni Shakur, whose unified message of freedom, equality, persecution and justice are more relevant today than ever.
Back in 2019, FX announced they would air a new Tupac docuseries, approved by the Tupac Estate. Revealing the news was President of Original Programming for FX Entertainment. “Outlaw: The Saga of Afeni and Tupac Shakur, from The Defiant Ones director Allen Hughes. A five-part series looking at the mother and son. Told through the eyes of the people who knew them best. The series explores their message of freedom, equality, persecution and justice.”
Who will direct and produce the five-part series
Taking on the docuseries is Allen Hughes and his brother, Albert Hughes. The two brothers have reunited after eleven years for the project. Allen Hughes has full access to Tupac’s released and unreleased material, writings, and poetry. All of which was granted by the Tupac Estate.
Hughes Brothers won’t take on this project alone. Joining Hughes are producers Lasse Jarvi, Charles D. King, Tom Whalley, and Tom Pellegrini. Dr. Dre will contribute to the docuseries, joining his long time friend Allen Hughes.
Although Tupac and the Hughes Brothers had their issues in the past, Allen was praised for his work on ‘The Defiant Ones‘. The four part docuseries focused on the career and partnership of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. The 2018 Grammy winning film, also featured Tupac which has fans feeling confident on the up-coming Outlaw docuseries.
Hughes Brothers vs Tupac
Initially the documentary was in the hands of another filmmaker, but that was until the Tupac Estate contacted Hughes and asked for a meeting. This came to a surprise for the 48-year-old director.
Tupac and the Hughes Brothers had a fallout that involved a firing, a beat down, and a lawsuit. Back in 1993, New Line Cinema, the distribution company founded in 1967, had requested Tupac for the Hughes Brothers film Menace II Society. During filming things turned for the worst as Tupac who was slated to play Shariff did not agree with the characters direction. This resulted in a dispute between Allen and Shakur, and ultimately Tupac was fired.
Both parties would run into each other during a video shoot and an altercation took place. As a result Tupac was sentenced to 15 days in jail, 30 days probation, $2,000 fine, and 30 days community service.
“Usually if someone asked you to do something like this on an international rock star, it’s a pretty easy answer, right? I remember this was a Wednesday and I said to the estate, Give me until Friday. I don’t know if this is for me.’ I get it as far as the statement of who he was as an icon, but I just don’t know if I have it in me to deal with those demons,” Allen Hughes told Deadline.
Tupac fans were not happy
The family was high on Hughes, especially after his work on The Defiant Ones which featured a segment on Tupac. “To me, they said, to know Tupac was to fight with Tupac, and you weren’t a friend or family member if you didn’t know that.”
Hughes has fond memories of his times with Shakur, especially when they first met in a music video for Raw Fusion. Allen sees the bigger picture as he takes on the new 5-part series Outlaw: The Saga Of The Shakurs, but for many Tupac fans they weren’t too thrill when hearing the news in 2019.
“A lot of them were wishing me all kinds of hurtful, harmful death type (ishh), you know, and it was just (messed) up,” Hughes said to Deadline. “But I said to myself, Allen, you have to show them that this is bigger, deeper and more meaningful than anyone could ever know, and I know my heart’s in the right place.”
COVID delays filming
Back in 2020, the pandemic halted production for the 5-part series. Now that production has resumed, Allen Hughes says the pandemic was a blessing of sorts. The director stated self-quarantine resulted in personal reflection which has made on-camera interviews that much better.
Who will be featured on Outlaw: Saga of the Shakurs?
Many who had a connection with Tupac and Afeni will be interviewed to share their experiences and stories.
Director Allen Hughes took to his official Twitter account sharing a photo of himself with Snoop Dogg on set of the new docuseries. Hughes quoted Snoop speaking about Tupac coming on to Death Row records. The Hip Hop veteran said, “We’ll show you how to Shine, and you’ll show us how to Grind.” According to Allen, Snoop, “put it down for his Dear Friend Tupac Shakur, Heart & passion.”
Speaking with Deadline, Allen Hughes reveals that Snoop Dogg was interviewed in the hospital room where Shakur laid after being shot in Vegas. “It was tearful, and I never seen Snoop like this. He started…and I just want to be careful about how I’m wording this because it was very spiritual, what he was saying, and it was very heartfelt, and it was deeper than what he had said before,” Hughes explained. “And then when we cut, I went back and…because he wears sunglasses, and the people that monitored were like did you see his eyes? And I said I was in the moment, I didn’t see, and everyone was really moved and in tears.”
“He says, ‘I know he couldn’t hear me, but my spirit was talking to his, I went in there with the right spirit, I was talking to his spirit, I wasn’t talking to him, it was difficult because there’s like, there’s this different kind of feeling, man, when it’s one of your friends, and he’s right there, and you know, we’re just talking, and he goes, and you know, you’re just talking to his spirit, and there ain’t nothing you can really do but just try to get to that…that real love across so that, he says, so that way his spirit can take that.'”
Close friend to the Shakur family, Jasmine Guy will appear on the docuseries as herself. Meeting Tupac during his guest appearances on a “A Different World”, Jasmine Guy would go on to build a strong friendship with Tupac.
Jasmine Guy was one of the few that Tupac trusted after being shot at Quad Studios in New York. Tupac ended up staying at Jasmine Guy’s place recovering after the shooting. “For me, sitting on the sidelines while all of that was going on, my heart would always stop for a while and then just come back, because um…these were very emotional times. And I wasn’t a member of the family, but I was always around. For whatever Afeni embraced me for, I really wanted to support them, and not just Tupac, but that family who depended on him completely.”
“We realized that Tupac didn’t wanna stay in the hospital, or at his girlfriend’s house. So they [Tupac’s mom and aunt] called me to see if I could keep him while he was convalescing from his wounds. He had…5 bullet wounds that he was healing from, and he didn’t feel safe sitting up in the hospital bed,” Jasmine Guy said.
Former member of the Panther 21, Jamal Joseph will appear on the Outlaw series as himself. Jamal is also a writer, director, and producer, but no word yet if he will contribute in the production aspect of the series.
Actor Tim Roth co-starred with Tupac on the movie Gridlock’d. Back in 2014, Roth recalled giving advice to Tupac, suggesting the rapper should not overload himself with work. “He would leave the set and go straight to a studio to record,” recalls Roth, “and then he had to do music videos as well at the time. And he would come to work and he was knackered. He was exhausted. I said, ‘You’ve got to stop your hours now. You can’t be walking wounded when you’re coming to the set because you’re not going to do your best work.’ And he really shut it down. He was pretty great about it.”
Roth also stated he and Tupac once jokingly recorded a rap song together. Unfortunately the tape cannot be found.
Mike Tyson and Mickey Rourke will also appear on the docuseries.
Cast for Outlaw docuseries
As far as the cast members, not much has been revealed. Johanna Gentry will take on the role as Afeni Shakur. Gentry appeared in the 2018 film Deadly Lessons, and in her earlier acting career on General Hospital, and Days of Our Lives.
Mimi Fletcher who has a lengthier acting resume will portray Afeni Shakur’s sister Gloria Cox. Fletcher’s resume consist of appearances on the Interrogation, The Surrogate, and Blood on Her Name.
Gloria Cox is also the mother of Outlawz member Kastro. Now retired from the music industry, Kastro along with E.D.I. Mean, Napoleon, Yaki Kadafi formed the Hip Hop group Dramacydal in the early nineties.
Outlaw: Saga of the Shakurs release date
The release date for the Outlaw: Saga of the Shakurs is TBD. As of this writing the docuseries is slated for a 2022 release.