One of the most iconic and influential musicians in modern time, Tupac Shakur, comes to life on the big screen with ALL EYEZ ON ME. I had the pleasure of speaking recently with one of the co-writers, Eddie Gonzalez (Empire).

The film, directed by Benny Boom, stars Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Kat Graham, Annie Ilonzeh, and Dominic L. Santana.

ALL EYEZ ON ME is now playing in theaters nationwide.

What was the biggest challenge crafting this story?

The biggest challenge was condensing what Tupac lived through those 25 years. He accomplished so much! To put all of it we would need a miniseries, and we just had 2 hours and 20 minutes. We just didn’t have the time.

We get to see his versions of the facts. Was that the main reason why you frame it through the interviews that he did?

Absolutely. It was intentional. The producer said to us “Tupac already told his story.” So that’s what we did: We read all of his interviews, we went to YouTube, etc. We channeled that when writing this.

How important was to tell her mother’s story as well?

Tupac loved women. Three of his biggest influences in his life were his mom, Jada Pinkett, and Kidada Jones. You cannot tell his story before starting with his mom: She was an educated woman, member of The Black Panthers, that taught him that the mind was his greatest weapon. Our goal was to honor these women and to depict them the way they were.

While you were writing, were ever concerned about finding the perfect actor for this role?

That’s more of a producer’s duty. What I can say is that Demetrious not just looks like him, but he channels him in his mannerisms and the way he speaks. The actors must look similar so you don’t lose your audience, but when you get passed that, they have to act. I am very proud of the performances that they gave.

Were you ever concerned about how the real life people depicted in the movie could react after seeing it?

We weren’t afraid of offending anybody. The main goal here was authenticity. For example, Snoop [Dog] has been very supportive of this film. What you see in the movie is how his relationship with Tupac ended. Snoop has talked about that scene in the plane and his last interaction with him, so we wanted to capture that and make it feel as real as possible.

Do you feel that Hollywood is realizing that we need more diversity in terms of writers?

That’s a beautiful question. I am Mexican-American, born in Compton, raised in Lynwood, and my parents are from Jalisco, Mexico. If I can inspire another person to become a writer, to grow up and pursue his dream, then that’s a great byproduct of this. I think that the industry is changing, in part thanks to movies like Straight Outta Compton, and TV shows like Empire and Blackish. The studios are noticing the buying power of minorities.

ALL EYEZ ON ME is now playing in theaters nationwide.

ALL EYEZ ON ME chronicles the life and legacy of Tupac Shakur, including his rise to superstardom as a hip hop artist, actor, poet and activist, as well as his imprisonment and prolific, controversial time at Death Row Records. Against insurmountable odds, Shakur rose to become a cultural icon whose career and persona both continue to grow long after his passing.