Johnny Depp is reportedly attached to star as Russell Poole, the LAPD detective who spent the latter half of his career as lead investigator on the still-unsolved shooting death of the Notorious B.I.G., in an upcoming biopic. Poole died in August 2015 at the age of 58.
Labyrinth, based on Randall Sullivan’s book 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, has also lined up The Lincoln Lawyer director Brad Furman to helm the film. The project is currently being pitched to studios at the Venice Film Festival, the Hollywood Reporter writes. Sullivan also wrote the Rolling Stone article “The Unsolved Mystery of the Notorious B.I.G.”
A rep for Depp did not immediately return a request for comment.
Poole investigated the Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace murder for nearly a year and pushed a theory that Suge Knight orchestrated the rapper’s drive-by shooting death in March 1997 following a Soul Train Awards after-party in Los Angeles. Poole believed that Knight, with the help of LAPD officer David Mack and another associate, was responsible for B.I.G.’s death as “retaliation” for the murder of Tupac Shakur a year earlier.
In 1999, Poole was essentially forced into early retirement after implicating a fellow officer in Biggie’s death; he later filed a lawsuit against the LAPD claiming that his First Amendment rights were being violated because he couldn’t take his B.I.G. findings public.
Poole later appeared in the 2002 Nick Broomfield documentary Biggie & Tupac, where the former detective-turned-private investigator furthered an additional theory that also placed Shakur’s death at the hands of Knight as a means to avoid paying the rapper his millions of dollars in royalties.
In 2015, Poole met with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s homicide investigators to discuss a cold case – rumored to be the Notorious B.I.G. case, the New York Daily News reported – when he suffered a fatal heart attack.