Notorious, the long-planned biopic of slain hip-hop megastar Notorious B.I.G. has found its star. The Fox Searchlight movie project will now move forward with a 2009 big-screen debut set.
The film, which tells the life story of the late rap icon whose real name was Christopher Wallace, will start shooting on March 24 with a January 16, 2009 release planned.
The production has been looking for the right actor to portray B.I.G. for a year now. Their worldwide search recently came to an end with unknown Jamal Woolard, a Brooklyn native, landing the role. Woolard will star alongside actress Angela Bassett, who plays Voletta Wallace, B.I.G.'s mother.
- Fox Searchlight
Actor Jamal Woolard will play B.I.G.
Derek Luke will play Sean Combs in the movie -- the real-life Diddy is one of the producers. Anthony Mackie is set to portray Tupac Shakur. Notorious also stars up and coming actors Antonique Smith, Naturi Naughton, Dennis White and Julia Pace Mitchell.
Director George Tillman Jr. will shoot the movie in and around the five boroughs of New York.
Voletta Wallace, who is producing the movie, released this statement: "Finding B.I.G. was a task in itself and I'm honored that so many young men came out to audition for the role. However, it was Jamal's charming personality, warm spirit, wonderful sense of humor and beautiful smile that won my heart. He is a talented and charismatic actor and I am excited that he will bring Christopher's character to the big screen."
The Notorious B.I.G. rose from the streets of Brooklyn to become one of the most influential hip hop artists of all time. B.I.G. was a gifted storyteller; his narratives about violent life on the streets were told with a gritty, objective realism that won him enormous respect and credibility. B.I.G. became heavily involved in the East Coast-West Coast rap rivalry. On March 9, 1997, he was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles.