The life of legendary Hip-Hop Artist, Notorious B.I.G. is finally coming to a cinema near you. The project spotlighting the Brooklyn native, Christopher Wallace or Biggie, began production a few weeks ago, after being on hold since 2007.

After a national search for the lead, Fox Searchlight (a division of Twentieth Century Fox) cast a Brooklyn born rapper named Jamal “Gravy” Woodard to play the deceased icon. George Tillman Jr. (Soul Food and Men of Honor) will direct the film, which also stars Derek Luke, Anthony Mackie, and Angela Bassett as Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace. Wallace serves as a producer of the film; and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, architect of Biggie’s career, will act as executive producer.

According to Black, Tillman is working with a script revised by Reggie Rock Bythewood (Biker Boyz) from an original draft by journalist Cheo Hodari Coker. The movie follows Biggie from his childhood and adolescence in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn and includes a history of drug dealing. It goes on to his explosive rap career in the 1990s until his tragic death at the hands of a gunman. Producers want the movie to be an anthem for the hip-hop generation. Major musical performances in the film feature Biggie’s recorded voice, though Woodard is expected to perform if no familiar recording exists.

Although, Jamal Woodard isn’t a box office magnet, the Oscar-nominated Angela Bassett may have the pull this film needs to thrive. Not to mention that fans of the murdered star have waited years to see their legend’s life given the proper theatrical treatment.

Searchlight is best known as a perennial Oscar contender, with films such as Juno and Sideways and African American films such as I Think I Love My Wife, directed by Chris Rock.

The film is slated for a January 2009 release.

For complete details on this story please visit Black

Tamika M. Murray blogs for PJ’s and A Movie and Stop and Stare Photos.

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