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Despite delays, timing just right for Tupac biopic star

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/12/2017 By RYAN PEARSON, AP Entertainment Writer
In this June 5, 2017 photo, Demetrius Shipp Jr. poses for a portrait at the "All Eyez on Me" junket at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Shipp portrays the late rapper Tupac Shakur, who was killed in 1996. (Photo by Ron Eshel/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press In this June 5, 2017 photo, Demetrius Shipp Jr. poses for a portrait at the "All Eyez on Me" junket at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Shipp portrays the late rapper Tupac Shakur, who was killed in 1996. (Photo by Ron Eshel/Invision/AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The actor who plays Tupac Shakur in a new biopic says people have noticed his strong resemblance to the rapper long before he was cast to play him on the big screen.

In this June 5, 2017 photo, Demetrius Shipp Jr. poses for a portrait at the "All Eyez on Me" junket at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Shipp portrays the late rapper Tupac Shakur, who was killed in 1996. (Photo by Ron Eshel/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press In this June 5, 2017 photo, Demetrius Shipp Jr. poses for a portrait at the "All Eyez on Me" junket at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Shipp portrays the late rapper Tupac Shakur, who was killed in 1996. (Photo by Ron Eshel/Invision/AP)

Demetrius Shipp Jr. says friends in high school used to call him "Pac," one of Shakur's nicknames. Audiences will soon get to see Shipp's uncanny resemblance to the rapper in "All Eyez on Me," which is in theaters on Friday.

In this June 5, 2017 photo, Demetrius Shipp Jr. poses for a portrait at the "All Eyez on Me" junket at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Shipp portrays the late rapper Tupac Shakur, who was killed in 1996. (Photo by Ron Eshel/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press In this June 5, 2017 photo, Demetrius Shipp Jr. poses for a portrait at the "All Eyez on Me" junket at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Shipp portrays the late rapper Tupac Shakur, who was killed in 1996. (Photo by Ron Eshel/Invision/AP)

Shipp's connections to the slain rapper go deeper than his appearance. His father produced Shakur's single "Toss It Up," which was the first of many posthumous songs released after Shakur was killed in Las Vegas in 1996.

Shipp was first cast in 2011, but production delays allowed him to take acting classes to prepare for his film debut.

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