Whether we’re taking biopics, or any other genre really, one of our most anticipated upcoming films around these parts is Notorious, the much-hyped Notorious B.I.G. movie due in theaters in January. And when we [MTV] recently caught up with the actors who’ll be portraying Diddy and Tupac, they promised a unique spin on their larger-than-life characters.
“I think the brother is deep," Derek Luke ("Antwone Fisher") said of Puffy. “Most people know him as a flamboyant giant and mouthpiece. But he was a guy with a dream and a vision, who helped transform a language for America, which is hip-hop."
As for “Half-Nelson" star Anthony Mackie, he insisted that he’s always had a deep connection to the late Shakur, and it served him well on the set. “My first job as an actor came when my friend wrote this play called ‘Up Against the Wind,’ and it was about Tupac. We did it at school, and it went off-Broadway. That’s how I got ‘8 Mile,’ after they saw me as Tupac in that."
That earlier work is still paying off for Mackie all these years later. “When they went to the family and asked who they could see playing Tupac, they said me," he beamed. “Which gave me so much confidence. It was a huge responsibility. Tupac is more of a myth than a person. We know the music; we know the things we’ve read. And then there’s the person he actually was. There’s no way you can get him right to everybody, because nobody knows those three people."
In the end, Mackie insisted, he could only do his best to capture Tupac as he remembered him. “A lot of the stuff you see in [Notorious] is just Pac being Pac," he explained. “You see a lot of the charismatic, energetic person he was. He was the life of the party without trying. A lot of the guys now are just trying to be the life of the party."
Unfortunately, Mackie revealed, this party didn’t include a musical performance for him. “No. I wish," he sighed. “I tried to get them to put a rap in there, but they wouldn’t do it."
Are you as excited for Notorious as we are? Or would you rather let the Biggie / Tupac tale rest in peace?