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Johnny Depp To Star In A Movie About The Biggie And Tupac Murders

Depp with Joe Perry. They're in a supergroup called Hollywood Vampires. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
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It would be an understatement to say that Johnny Depp has hit a rough patch as of late. This summer, he and ex-wife Amber Heard went through a tumultuous (and very public) divorce that included allegations of abuse on Depp's part.

His troubles have extended beyond his personal life, too. Depp, a surefire money-maker in the past, hasn't notched a victory since 2013's Dark Shadows. Mortdecai was an embarrassment. Black Mass never lived up to its hype. And Alice Through the Looking Glass was torched by the critics.

Now here comes Labyrinth, which shoulders the added stakes of Depp's dimming career. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Depp has signed on to play former LAPD Detective Russell Poole in the movie. Poole had led the investigation in the 1997 shooting death of the Notorious B.I.G. Poole came to believe that producer Suge Knight had coordinated the murder as a response to the death of Tupac Shakur, who some people (like LAPD detective Greg Kading, Poole's eventual successor) claim was killed on the orders of Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, a close associate of Biggie's.

Poole also claimed that Knight was paying off a bunch of LAPD officers to obfuscate the investigation, and that some of them were directly involved in Biggie's murder. Of course, these claims ruffled a lot of feathers at the LAPD.

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Poole went into an early retirement, and his investigation was later documented by author Randall Sullivan in a 2003 publication called LAbyrinth: A Detective Investigates the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., the Implication of Death Row Records' Suge Knight, and the Origins of the Los Angeles Police Scandal. (Talk about a title that gives away the plot!). The upcoming Labyrinth movie is adapted from the book.

Poole died of a heart attack in 2015.

The intrigue behind Tupac and Biggie's murders is ripe for the big screen. But we're a little concerned that, in Labyrinth, the whole West Coast/East Coast saga will merely serve as a backdrop in a film about a White Male who gets in over his head. Is the story an analogy for Depp's own mid-life crisis? Are Tupac and Biggie stand-ins for Mortdecai and The Lone Ranger? And Depp is on a quest to figure out why they flopped? Will this be The Last Samurai of hip-hop?

Anyway, only time will tell how the movie turns out. Hopefully director Brad Furman (who made The Lincoln Lawyer) will do the material justice and give us some insight into a moment that had defined the mid-90s.

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