Rapper Gravy Chosen for ‘Notorious’–Is It a B.I.G. Mistake?

As you've probably heard by now, casting for the Christopher Wallace biopic Notorious was confirmed yesterday.  And after thousands auditioned for the role, it was New York rapper/actor Jamal "Gravy" Woolard who won both the heart of Biggie's mom, Voletta Wallace, and the lead playing the Notorious B.I.G. aka rap's Frank White.

In the press release that accompanied the announcement, Ms. Wallace cited Woolard's "charming personality, warm spirit, wonderful sense of humor and beautiful smile" as the reasons he won the role. I guess she figured it'd be in bad taste to mention the hole in his buttocks from a 2006 shooting as a strength, eh? Yeah, maybe.

Speaking of Biggie's moms, the lovely Angela Bassett won (?) the role after what I'm sure was an exhaustive search. (Likely scenario -- Producer: Is that Angela Bassett on the caller ID? Act like you're chillin'. Don't answer too soon. No need to seem over-anxious. Wait. Did it stop ringing? Call her back NOW!)

Derek Luke has been tapped to play Sean "Diddy" Combs (shrug). And in the role of Tupac Shakur? Yup, you guessed it right along with us: New Orleans' own Anthony Mackie. (Hold on, calling up nOva to secure permission for use of Side-Eye 2.0). 

The film, due in theaters January 16, 2009, will cover Biggie's ascension from drug-slinger to rap-slayer. Rounding out the cast, most likely playing Lil' Kim, Faith Evans, et al, are unknowns Antonique Smith, Naturi Naughton and Julia Pace Mitchell.

Some have their opinions, but truthfully, this project can only go one of two ways: it will either utterly surprise with its depth and fine acting, or ring hollower than the bottom of Gravy's dinner plate. What do you think? Will it be a B.I.G. deal, or a "Notorious" mess? And if you had to cast the film, who would you have chosen for the roles of Biggie and 'Pac?

'Notorious' Casting Complete [Variety]

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12 Responses

  1. Don't even get me started on Anthony Mackie. Yes, the usage of SIDE-EYE 2.0 was warranted. I feel like this will be a TV movie on the big screen.
    This post is funny.

  2. I'm not quite sure if it matters who plays Biggie or 'Pac. I only say this because now that Angela Bassett has been chosen to play the Momma role (again), this project is destined to be no better than a made-for-TV movie. Although Angela was great in that Jacksons movie.
    There are too many actors in this movie whose talent doesn't match up. Anthony Mackie, Angela Bassett, Derek Luke, and "Gravy?" Who???
    It will be funny to see how the mid-90's (shiny suits, blond weaves) will be displayed.

  3. uhm...what will they say in the movie that we don't already know?
    Str8 to DVD I say....Tupac's story would be more interesting for me to watch...but not with that dude Anthony Mackie playing him...
    No diss but I dont think Angela is a good pick for Biggie's mom..she'll get the tough love mom part right...but I'll probably keep waiting ofr her to shake a tailfeather!

  4. I don't think that Derek Luke's eyes are wonky enough to play Diddy. And Anthony Mackie as Pac? I vote no. After reading the poor review of the script, this movie is a disaster waiting to happen with this casting news.

  5. All I gotta say is that Angela Bassett must have a car note due or something to take this role. This is off-casting if there ever was one.

  6. Whether or not if we like the actors picked to play these parts, you gotta admit that this is a MUST see! Angela Bassett is definetly a plus in the line-up...I hope she gets all the (overdue) shine she deserves!

  7. Naturi is an ex-member of 3LW, who appeared on their debut album.

  8. I have to agree with DJ Diva.
    Those of us who grew up during their heyday really know pretty much all their is to know. And when you consider the fact that folks like Lil Kim have made careers out of talking about Biggie, there really isn't much else to tell. Behind the Music, DVD documentaries, exhaustive articles ... there's really no other place to go.
    Maybe people who don't know much about him will benefit from it, but I don't really see the point, personally.

  9. Uuummm, I'm sorry y'all but this is some bull-ass-shyte! Are you serious?! Yes, definitely straight to DVD, Tv movie on the big screen! All that stuff mentioned above. The only saving grace is that Diddy isn't playing himself. Thank God for small miracles. Did y'all see 'A Raisin in the Sun?' Exactly.

  10. I agree with FJC. I think Lunelle would be the best choice personally.

  11. Well i just like to say that it's cool they doing a movie about his life, anybody who grew up in brooklyn, can truly understand and relate to that era back then when biggie was on top.
    i was young, but i remember that night like it was yesterday..and i remember Biggie as if he was still here, so i hope they make this movie into something beneficial to all people who understand hip-hop/rap, and how Biggie changed the whole era of that genre of music.
    Angela Bassett to me is an excellent actress, she sometimes doesnt get enough props for some movies that she does, but they have to remember this is not the Jackson 5, her being his mom is not a good choice, that girl playing lil'Kim, is DEFINETLY not a good choice. People have to understand that these hip hop moguls have a NY swagger that comes naturally, so if you can't fine someone that can pull that off, its a waste of time.


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