Notorious, the biopic of Christopher Wallace, aka the Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls, came out this weekend (Jan 15) starring Jamal Woolard. Woolard, who only recently came to acting, has a rather interesting past— here’s a little bit of his story:
…Jamal Woolard, a.k.a. Gravy, an oversized, unheralded rapper from Brooklyn who was shot in the rear””possibly by a member of his own oversized entourage””outside the radio station Hot 97, two and a half years ago, and proceeded to give an interview on the air, while bleeding. Instead of sympathy, Gravy was met with skepticism and opprobrium, as many observers smelled a dangerous publicity stunt. Hot 97 announced a ban on playing his songs. His dÃ©but album with Warner Music, “God Willing,” was shelved. In an interview with this magazine, shortly after the shooting, he rubbed his left pants leg (the bullet, he said, had gone “through the ass, through the thigh”) and mused, “You have to damn near die to be famous these days?”
With his rap career on hold, Woolard turned to acting, and was cast, from among ten thousand applicants, as the lead in “Notorious,”…. [New Yorker]
Notorious got a mixed review from A.O. Scott of the NY Times (“Not a bad movie, but nowhere near as strong as its soundtrack.”), but some harsher words came from Lil’ Kim, who was not happy with the way she was portrayed on the big screen.
In a statement, she said: “The film studio and producers involved were more concerned about painting me as a ‘character’ to create a more interesting story line instead of a person with talent, self-respect and who was able to achieve her own career success through hard work.”
She added: “Even though my relationship with Big was at times very difficult and complicated (as with most relationships we have all experienced at one time or another), it was also genuine and built on great admiration and love for each other. Regardless of the many lies in the movie and false portrayal of me to help carry a story line through, I will still continue to carry his legacy through my hard work and music.” [AP]
Despite all the pre-release chatter, the people seemed to like the movie anyway, it was no. 2 at the box office on Friday with an estimated gross of $8,250,000.
In other related news, 4 people were stabbed at a Brooklyn nightclub on Friday night at an after-party for the film’s premiere. [Yahoo! News]