The black Lincoln Town Car dispatched by the media conglomerate edges into rush-hour traffic with a hired driver, a publicist, a writer and a dude who looks a lot like Biggie Smalls. The temperature drops with the light and, in the dim back set, Jamal Woolard—with his sleepy eyes, familiar pout and manchild physique—looks pretty damn notorious.
Creeping through Chinatown and over the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn, Woolard passes directions up front. He’s taking us to Bedford-Stuyvesant, the neighborhood where both he and Biggie grew up. Woolard, 27, is about to make his big-screen debut in Fox Searchlight’s Notorious, a biopic about the titanic rapper born Christopher Wallace, whose unsolved 1997 drive-by-shooting death still haunts hip-hop.