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Friday, August 10, 2007

Yeah, uh huh, uh huh

From The Hollywood Reporter via Stereohyped:

The role of Notorious B.I.G. for an upcoming biopic on the rapper will be filled through an open casting call, the film's producers said Thursday."Notorious," which has been in the works for nearly seven years, will seek its star by auditioning actors and non-actors alike who resemble the rapper, whose real name was Christopher Wallace.

Anyone can submit audition videos beginning 3 a.m. EDT Sunday to or

An official announcement of the online casting call will be made Friday by Fox Searchlight Pictures, which in 2005 secured the rights to a film about the slain rapper. Wallace's mother, Voletta Wallace, and his two former managers, Wayne Barrow and Mark Pitts, are producing the movie."As it relates to the individual Christopher Wallace -- his looks, his stature, what he represented, the swagger, the sensibility of the man -- all those elements are very difficult to find, no matter where you go," Barrow said Thursday. "In the typical Hollywood world, no one came to mind outside of Forest Whitaker who could capture that essence genuinely."Barrow said the film's producers never approached Whitaker because -- though he would have been ideal -- at 46-years-old Whitaker is more than twice the age Wallace will be for much of the film.

Wallace was gunned down at the age of 24 on March 9, 1997, after a music-industry party in Los Angeles."We thought it would be best to open it up to the world and...give somebody the opportunity to step into his shoes and fulfill their own American dream," said Barrow.In a statement, Voletta Wallace described the qualities the producers are seeking."There will only be one Christopher Wallace, but I'm happy that his legacy will open a door for another to walk through," said Wallace. "I don't want you to just imitate him. I want to see his swagger, his style, his energy and smile come through."Fox Searchlight on Thursday also said that George Tillman will direct. The filmmaker's previous credits include "Men of Honor" (2000) and "Soul Food" (1997).

Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day," "Shooter") was two years ago reported to be close to agreeing to direct. In an interview earlier this year, Fuqua said he was apprehensive about the degree of control the producers had in developing the script."They're in the record business, they're not in the film business," Fuqua said then.
Barrow said he remains friends with Fuqua and that timing was the only issue.The script was written by Cheo Hodari Coker and Reggie Rock Bythewood. Coker, a hip-hop journalist, wrote the biography "Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Notorious B.I.G."The film intends to focus on the Wallace not seen in his public life, zeroing in on "the humanity within Christopher himself," said Barrow. He added that no real-life character in Wallace's world will play himself, given the passage of time.The producers hope to begin production this fall.
From I.W.: I worked in rap (behind the scenes) for some years, and Biggie was, and still is, my favorite flow of all time. I actually cried when I heard the news that he was shot. Please don't let this film be a Hollywood mess, though director George Tillman is not really known for that...I'm glad it's him and not Antoine-I love Antoine Fuqua, he has made black directing moneymaking, but now and again he can be part of the Hollywood machinery.


KIKI said...

Ooohhhh...thank you for posting this. I didn't know they were planning on making a movie about Biggie! Like you, I think he was the BEST and I haven't heard anyone since him come anywhere close to touching his flow.

Normally I wait until a movie's been out a couple of weeks before I check it out, but I'll be there opening day for this one! And yeah...let's just pray it's well written & directed.

coloredgirlswhohaveconsidered said...

It's true Fuqua is good. I liked Training Day. However, for my money I would rather see F. Gary Gray get this one. Only because I feel he might has a 'little' hip hop history. Doesn't his resume include BET?
As far as casting, it's going to have to be a newcomer for Biggie,I can only think of one of the Fat Boys and they would still have to lose weight. For P Diddy, we can just clean up Flavor Flav. And if Faith and Lil'Kim can behave, they can play their selves.

hottnikz said...

I'm glad that they realize Forrest Whitaker is not the one. Not even when he was younger, like on that movie "Fast Times". It's probably going to have to be an unknown actor.

Invisible Woman said...

@ hottnikz:I never really cared for Forest in his earlier years, he was not that charismatic, and kinda hard to look at quite honestly. You know how Hollywood is..."he's big and black! He can play Biggie!" or some such nonsense. So what that he's 46 (?!)

@coloredgirls: I would MUCH rather have F. Gary direct it, I think he would bring it the look, grit, and thoughtfulness it needs to tell a multi-layered story...but George Tillman seems to be well-connected in H'Wood, even though I usually find his films a bit dry and corny for my taste. I know lots of folks like them, and that's important.

@kiki: I agree with everything you've said :-)