Gridlock’d, a crime comedy, highlights America’s drug epidemic and stars Tupac Shakur as Spoon and Tim Roth as Stretch. Released on January 29, 1997, Tupac would consequently never got to see the finished product.
In 2018, Thandie Newton, who plays Cookie in the movie, appeared on UK television talking about working alongside Tupac. Furthermore, the British actress recalls Tupac sorting through lists of people that he was taking care of financially while on set.
We take a closer look at how ‘Pac’s fellow cast and crew observed and above all admired him as an actor.
Vondie Curtis-Hall – Director, Gridlock’d
Tupac had just gotten out of jail and was staying at a hotel under the name ‘Welcome Homie’. We had the meeting and he was incredible. I told Tim Roth about it and Tim was like, “Can he act?” A few hours later, Tim calls back and says, “I can’t do the movie with him. I’m gonna get shot on set.” I told Tim to meet him. We all got together that night and went to some bar in Silver Lake. We sat around, smoked like eight cartons of cigarettes and drank like 40 beers and they just bonded.
Preston Holmes – Producer, Gridlock’d
“He surprised me by how much he took to the script and how he aware he was of Tim Roth and his work. Tupac never seemed to rest. While we were shooting Gridlock’d, he was working every day on a tough low budget film. Then, he was recording, doing music videos and writing nonstop. I once asked him, “When do you rest?” He said he didn’t have time to. I didn’t get into what that meant. He felt like he had to make the most of what time he had left.”
Frank Alexander – Tupac’s Bodyguard
“From the first day, he began filming the movie Gridlock’d I knew a lot of people on the set had preconceived ideas about ‘Pac. True to form, once they got to know him, they all fell in love with him. Tim Roth, the actor who was starring as Tupac’s partner, became real close with ‘Pac. The producer and director also got attached to him. I would hear people on set talking about it all the time, ‘Hey, this guy’s a f*****’ alright guy’. People started coming up to me, and saying, ‘I didn’t know ‘Pac was cool like that’. Everyone was impressed and some people even seemed shocked that this controversial brotha was so professional. He showed up each day on time, always prepared, he made people laugh, and he was cool.”
Damien Jones – Producer, Gridlock’d
Tupac was shooting music videos on the weekend and he was getting more and more exhausted. We had to ask him to bring that to an end because it was effecting the movie. You could see it on screen that the man was working long hours seven days a week. We managed to bring that to a halt. We would always shoot his close-ups in the morning because he would get completely high at lunchtime in his trailer and forget his lines and stuff. Therefore, it made sense to shoot his close-ups in the morning.