Jamal Woolard to play Notorious B.I.G. in biopic
Fox Searchlight has found its Biggie. The production company has announced that Jamal Woolard will play Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher George Latore Wallace), in Notorious, the upcoming biopic about the legendary MC. The company had spent months searching for the right person to fill Biggie's corpulent shoes, even conducting an open casting call, before finally choosing Woolard, a Brooklyn-born rapper known on his recordings as Gravy.
Woolard released a number of albums in the '90s and eventually signed with Warner Bros. He made headlines in 2006, when he was shot in the buttocks just before entering the Hot 97 radio station studios in New York City, where he was scheduled to do an interview. He sat through the interview despite the wound, but the shooting ended up stunting Woolard’s music career. After the incident, Hot 97 vowed not to play Woolard’s music and Warner Bros. froze the release of his album.
While major success has eluded Woolard thus far, the coveted Notorious role will definitely bring him wider acclaim. Notorious B.I.G.'s mother, Voletta Wallace, has already given Woolard her blessing.
“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,” Wallace said in a press release. “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 film, slated for release in January 2009, will co-star Derek Luke as Sean “Puffy” Combs, Angela Bassett as Volleta Wallace and Anthony Mackie as Tupac Shakur. George Tillman is set to direct, and Combs is serving as an executive producer.
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