EW Hollywood Insider reports that rapper Jamal Woolard aka Gravy has landed the role of the Notorious B.I.G. in the biopic Notorious, based on the life of Biggie Smalls. Woolard won the role after a nationwide search that began online in August. He beat out potential hopefuls including Sean Kingston and Beanie Sigel.
The film stars Angela Bassett, who plays Biggie’s mom, Voletta Wallace; Anthony Mackie (We Are Marshall), who’s been cast as Tupac Shakur; and Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher) as Sean “Diddy” Combs. George Tillman Jr. (Men of Honor) will direct the film, which begins shooting March 24th in New York.
Woolard gained notoriety in 2006 when he was shot on his way to an interview at Hot 97. He finished the appearance before being taken to the hospital. Woolard was a drug dealer before he became a rapper and released several albums independently before being signed to Warner Bros.
Notorious will be released by Fox Searchlight on January 16, 2009.