The story of “heart throb never, black and ugly as ever” rapper the Notorious B.I.G. will finally grace the silver screen. Notorious will focus on the private life of the Brooklyn icon, but Fox Searchlight Pictures is still scrambling to fill the part of the lyrical legend. So producers of the biopic, which has been in development for seven years, have decided to seek out an unknown actor to portray Biggie Smalls on the big screen. “As it relates to the individual Christopher Wallace — his looks, his stature, what he represented, the swagger, the sensibility of the man — all those elements are very difficult to find, no matter where you go,” said Big’s former manager Wayne Barrow.
Producers briefly considered Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker for the role, but the actor is twice as old as Biggie was at his career’s height. And unlike Todd Haynes’ unconventional take on the life of Bob Dylan (where Cate Blanchett takes a turn portraying the singer-songwriter), Notorious filmmakers don’t seem interested in any creative casting (sorry, Mo’Nique).
Actors can submit audition tapes to beginning Sunday. And here’s a bit of advice from Big’s mom, Voletta Wallace: “I don’t want you to just imitate him. I want to see his swagger, his style, his energy and smile come through.”