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]