Tomorrow marks the opening night for George Tillman’s Notorious. A lot has happened since the film has been screened and pushed out to the public. With the hype, drama and emotions boiling over, Notorious is a must-see film and The Urban Daily got a chance to sit down with the ladies of this Brooklyn biopic.
Angela Bassett (Voletta Wallace), Naturi Naughton (Lil Kim), Antonique Smith (Faith Evans) and the late Frank White’s mother all express their thoughts about Biggie, their characters and share a little insight on the Brooklyn don.
On Playing Faith:
“I auditioned, I studied her movements through watching YouTube videos. When I put on that frumpy sweatsuit, I looked real chill. I would go to the studio and that’s what I had seen her do in an interview – be real chill. When everyone else saw me, they saw Faith. So, George Tillman and the casting director knew that I had made it. I fixed my hair, put some make-up on, wore some tight jeans, some high heels and put a little bright shirt on, came back out and did the scene and the rest was history.”
On Being Married To B.I.G.:
“In my research, I had discovered that in the 90’s there were rumors that she had married [B.I.G.] for money and for fame, that she tried to latch herself onto this famous guy. But that wasn’t the case! He wasn’t even famous. No offense to B.I.G. or his fans, but she had more money than him in the beginning. [Faith] was writing songs for Mary J. Blige and Al B. Sure. It was a complete misconception. In the end, she married him out of love and was so in love with his wit, his charm and his boyish qualities. It was those same qualities that kind of lead to a lot of their other issues, but she was completely in love with him.”
On Similarities Between Her & Faith:
“Faith and I are from the same area, but we had completely different environments. She grew up with her grandmother and all these foster kids. But we both came up in the church. So, I latched myself into her upbringing based om those similarities and the desire to just want things to be right. When you’re about to enter the public eye, it’s hard to keep things in perspective, but Faith had her head on her shoulders.”
On Playing Lil Kim:
“I auditioned a few times. A lot of more experienced actresses were up for the role, so I just really studied hard and I came in very natural. I wore this blazer, a little cute skirt and some flats – definitely not Lil Kim attire at all – and that’s what the casting director saw in me. They weren’t looking for the crazy Lil Kim, they were looking for the person, Kimberly Jones.
On Not Meeting Lil Kim:
I didn’t get a chance to meet my character or speak with her. I had to latch onto her personality. In the music business, I’ve been a recording artist from a young age and have been criticized for various things in my life and I think that Lil Kim – in the film – experienced rejection and transformed into something to make her more beautiful. She was whatever it was that the man she was in love with was telling her what she should be. I used this film as an opportunity to bring more of Naturi into this character and show everything that I needed to show without any outside influences. I had all the materials needed, the support of my cast and the support of the director to do what was needed to be done. Unfortunately, Kim and I didn’t meet, but I used that as strength and kept going.
On Her Thoughts About B.I.G.:
I’ve seen so many documentaries on VH1 and I’ve seen the way artist’s have been exploited because there’s many people who liked, loved and maybe hated his music, but they still wanted to know the man. This movie needed to be done to examine why people liked him so much, why did they hate him and to tell his story.
On Early B.I.G. Memories:
There were days that I heard things in the room and I called it ‘noise.’ I would hear something and ask him to stop [laughs]! I thought it was the radio or something. Then, one day, he opened the door and he said, ‘Ma, we’re not making noise, that’s music!’ I thought, ‘Oh, God!’ [laughs] He said it was rap music. But you know something, I tolerated the noise.
He had said some things about Christopher, but I never bought the magazines to know what was going on. He had actually called the house wanting to talk to Christopher. Tupac had called the house a lot during that time. It wasn’t until a friend had come by to ask me what was going on between the two of them when I paid it any attention. I had never paid it any credence.
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