Notorious B.I.G. Film Casts Gravy to Play Legendary Rapper

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The planned Notorious B.I.G. biopic Notorious has found its star after an open call audition. Brooklyn-based rapper Jamal Woolard, who performs under the nom de MC Gravy, has been cast to star as B.I.G., beating out more than a hundred other Biggies who tried out for the part. Like the man he will be playing, Woolard segued from his job as a drug dealer into that of a rapper. Gravy also earned instant street cred two years ago, when he was shot in the buttocks before a radio appearance outside NY hip-hop station Hot 97's studios, and then proceeded to brush off his wound and go inside for his interview.

Gravy joins a cast that includes Derek Luke (who will play Sean "Diddy" Combs), Anthony Mackie (as Tupac Shakur) and Angela Bassett in the role of Biggie's mother Violetta Wallace. In casting Jamal to play her son, Wallace said, "He is a talented and charismatic actor, and I am excited that he will bring Christopher's character to life" and that Gravy's "charming personality, warm spirit, wonderful sense of humor and beautiful smile" captured the essence of B.I.G. The film, which will be directed by George Tillman Jr. (Men of Honor, Soul Food), is due out January 2009.

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