Jamal Woolard in Notorious

We are not 100% certain that the hip-hop community is all abuzz over the upcoming film Notorious, the biopic of the late Notorious B.I.G., but we know that they should be. Because if we look back at the difference between great biopics of musical icons and bad ones, we can easily see that if the casting of the lead is dead on, then the rest of the film seems to follow. Take for example films such as Walk the Line, in which Joaquin Phoenix was a pitch-perfect Johnny Cash, and Ray, for which Jamie Foxx won an Oscar for his portrayal of Ray Charles.

For Notorious, Fox Searchlight and director George Tillman Jr. (Men of Honor) have tapped young rapper Jamal “Gravy” Woolard to bring Christopher Wallace, aka The Notorious B.I.G. to life on the big screen. MTV News caught up with Woolard on set in New York City. They also caught up with Antonique Smith, who plays singer Faith Evans in the film. To say the least, the casting of these two roles alone is uncanny. And not only does Woolard have Biggie’s look, as you will see from the video, he also has his sound.

Get your first glimpse of Jamal Woolard in Notorious below:

As well, if you visit MTV’s Movies Blog, you will find a few exclusive shots of Woolard and Antonique Smith in character, as well as some more information from the set. Notorious is scheduled to hit theaters on January 16, 2009.

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