Four roles in George “Men of Honor” Tillman, Jr.’s Notorious B.I.G. biopic, Notorious, have been cast, and I’m pretty fucking pumped about it.
The big news here is the casting of Biggie Smalls himself. He’ll be played by Brooklyn rapper Jamal Woolard, better known as Gravy. The filmmakers had long said they wanted a relative unknown to play the part, and they got one who happens to also be very badass. In case you aren’t in the loop on why Gravy is such a badass, here’s the reason.
Back in 2006, he was set to appear on Funk Master Flex’s show on Hot 97 on New York, which was a big deal for someone whose career was pretty much exclusively underground. On the way to the studio, he catches a bullet in a drive-by shooting. Said bullet hit him in the ass and came out the front of his thigh.
After that, he went up and did the show while hiding the wound with his “big old shirt” (thanks, New Yorker). That’s right, he did the entire show without telling anyone he got shot, and nobody had a clue. Here’s what he told the New Yorker* about why he did what he did:
“What was I supposed to tell a powerful influence like Flex, at Hot 97? ‘You know what, Flex? I’m sorry, man. I can’t do the show. I was standing downstairs — got shot in the ass.’ What, are you nuts? Right? It wouldn’t make any sense. So I had to do what I had to do.”
Bad. Fucking. Ass. Hopefully he can be just as bad-ass in his depiction of B.I.G.
But that’s not all the casting news we have. We’ve also got Angela Bassett as Biggie’s mom, Anthony Mackie as Tupac and Derek Luke as Sean Combs. Combs, incidentally, is exec producing.
Just look at that cast. While Woolard is a wild card, Bassett, Mackie and Luke are really, really top notch.
Notorious starts shooting at the end of the month, so here’s hoping we get some more really great casting news (my fingers are crossed for Mekhi Phifer and Terrance Howard).
*That same article casts some doubt on the veracity of Woolard actually being shot, but it isn’t conclusive. But I’m going to assume he did get shot, because I WANT it to be true.