Yesterday, the ladies of Notorious sat down with The Urban Daily and talked about the in’s and out’s of their role. Today, with the film opening in theaters nationwide, the gentlemen of Notorious dig deep and talk about how it felt to portray some of hip-hop’s legendary stars and director George Tillman offers his assessment on Suge Knight, why Charli Baltimore wasn’t included in this tale and gives his opinion on who killed Brooklyn’s own Frank White.
On Preparing For His Role As B.I.G.:
“Man, I had to do a lot of hard work. I went through my own personal Biggie boot camp. Five months before I was cast, I was already in my zone. I had to learn his mannerisms, his behavior… I learned what hand he used to talk with. The breathing patterns he used because he had asthma. I had to get down his walk with the wobble, keeping my chin high. You never see his face straight, it’s kind of stoic.”
On Shooting The Shooting:
“We were shooting at like 1 o’clock, maybe 2 in the morning. Knowing that a car is going to pull up on you and you hear those shots… It’s crazy. The mindset that I had going into it was weighing on me heavily. I hadn’t seen my daughter in weeks and just knowing that I’m about to die and that I’m ready to die, I go in peace.”
On Support From Diddy:
“I almost felt like he was too supportive. He asked me about playing him and I just wanted to meet him. He has a lot of confidence in himself and I just wanted to know why. He was always a phone call always. He didn’t want to be on set for fear of messing up my groove. He’s acting now, so he understands that process. I was immensely interested in the journey of Sean Combs.”
On The East Coast/West Coast Beef:
“In doing research, I found out that it was all a media developed slogan. Everybody that got hyped or emotional after that word came on the scene got a false rise. Notorious finds us telling the story of a human being, so we wanted to expose those characters in a different light than what the media portrayed them to be.”
“I am a huge fan of Tupac. The first CD I got was Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z. I re-read a lot of Eldridge Cleaver and Michael Eric Dyson. It was just a lot of reading and listening to ‘Pac’s music. I was really listening to the things he said with a fine-toothed comb to be able to get what he’s trying to get across, across. He put his work in and that was something to admire.”
On Hip-Hop In The 90’s:
“Man, it was all about partying and bullshit! I was 18 around that time and I was away from home for the first time in boarding school. It was practically high school on a college campus. I was looking for Papa John’s and girls [laughs]. The biggest thing for me was listening for that West Coast mentality. They made it seem like such a scary place… and it was! So, when I read Cheo’s book and listened to ‘Pac’s lyrics made it all a completely different world. But ‘Pac, to me, fed B.I.G. a lot of food, so I was all about ‘Pac. Everything he put out, everything he wrote, I was down for it and it wasn’t no East Coast/West Coast thing, either!”
“I was more familiar with Biggie Smalls’ music. I did see Tupac once and I definitely drew a different side to his character that we capture in this film. Most of the stuff we saw with B.I.G. was a once in a lifetime thing – like him smiling in the “Hypnotize” video. All the behind-the-scenes stuff that I saw showed him as this charismatic, happy go-lucky giant.
You started seeing a different B.I.G. after Tupac’s death. He did an interview in San Francisco and he’s questioning whether he wants to do rap anymore. It’s interesting to see a guy at 24 become a full man. When you look back on this boy selling crack on Fulton Street in the 80s in Brooklyn and see what he turned into, you have to be honest, to see both sides of the story is an impacting thing to experience.”
On B.I.G.’s Murder:
“Even from doing research, it just seems baffling! There’s only one or two guards on duty and one of them told me that there were guys trying to pay one thousand dollars just to get inside the venue. It was a planned hit. You had to be law enforcement to get close like that. The way the shooter shot, the bullet full-circle through the door. They had to be a professional. This was bigger than any street level stuff. I didn’t really want to take the movie to a different level, but I feel like that has to be an account of the things that happened. So, I placed certain people in the background and I did it very subtly. These are really just my thoughts and at the end of the day, no one really knows because of law enforcement and street law codes. But I do know this, at the end of the day, Tupac and Biggie were just a small part of a bigger thing.
When I talked to Miss Wallace, the first thing I remember her telling me that after the shooting at Quad Studios, Tupac actually called B.I.G. at her house and they missed the phone call. B.I.G. was upset that he missed the call. I look at it with some symbolism – had they had that chance to talk, who knows what would’ve happened.”
On Talking To Suge:
“I haven’t talked to him. I saw him on Melrose when I was driving by and you know that’s Suge when you see him [laughs]. It was kind of weird though. He looked back and I slowed down and he just looked at me. He has a very big street awareness and he ain’t nobody you just want to be caught staring at.
I haven’t talked to Suge. I saw him one time on Melrose when I was driving by. And I was just driving down the steet and I was like man that’s suge knight. It was a very weird thing, he looked back and I just slowed down. You know that’s the guy. I just slowed down and he just looked like this. He was with somebody and they looked back, and that was it. He has a very big street awareness. He ain’t nobody you just want to be caught staring at.”
On Why There Was No Charli Baltimore:
“I felt like with Charli Baltimore that would have been a forth woman in his life and I feel like to me, we do see her in the car crash, she was there. That’s how accurate we try to be. She was a very talented person and very important in his life, but I felt like four women, it may be too much and out of all the women too I loved Jan. I talked to her the most when I was making the movie and she’s a beautiful woman. She met B.I.G. early on in her life. They connected. She was a little bit older and he was just trying to be the best he could be.”
On Kim & B.I.G.’s Relationship:
“With Kim, their relationship was always on and off. There were points where they would even stop talking. I think if he were still alive their relationship would still be ongoing, as friends. She was the one that most related closer to him, they lived right down the street from each other. They had the same personality.”
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