[movie id="360770"]“Notorious”[/movie] director George Tillman had a lot of “bosses” to please during the production of the Biggie biopic. There was Diddy, the executive producer; Big’s mother, Voletta Wallace, who served as a producer on the film; the Brooklyn lyricist’s former managers, Wayne Barrow and Mark Pitts, also had a hand in making the movie — not to mention, [artist id="1520821"]Lil’ Cease[/artist] was present on set as a consultant.
Another potentially hard person for Tillman to please was writer Dream Hampton. The veteran hip-hop scribe had penned articles on Big’s friend-turned-foe Tupac Shakur, she’d been hired to write both Diddy and Jay-Z’s biographies, and she hung out often with Biggie in the rapper’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood.
The Detroit native reported from the set of “Notorious” for an article in the February issue of Vibe magazine.
“George Tillman rocks,” Hampton told MTV News on Thursday.
She credits the “Soul Food” director for his commitment to detail. In her article, Hampton notes Diddy actor [movieperson id="295204"]Derek Luke[/movieperson] is caucusing with Tillman as they try to get Puff on the phone. They need to know exactly where in his own black SUV he was sitting when he heard the bullets that would change [Diddy's] life and end Big’s.”
“As mad as Kim is,” Hampton said, referring to Lil’ Kim’s criticism of the film , “I think that a lot of that stuff came out pretty good.”
What Hampton didn’t think turned out so well was the representation of Big’s full persona. In her article, Hampton praised Jamal “Gravy” Woolard’s work as the iconic rapper, but she explained that the way the Notorious one was portrayed was more G-rated than she recalled.
“I would have put 200 more n—as in, because Big was surrounded by people all the time,” Hampton explained. “He would have always had … a blunt. And there would have 500 more jokes.”
Of course, Hampton knows there’s about three more movies’ worth of material when it comes to her friend’s life — making the movie was not an easy task. According to Hampton, other projects may need to be green-lit to provide the full story. Tillman, she said, could be the one to open that gate with his work, much like he did for black films after “Soul Food” was released.
She also reiterated Diddy’s remark that “Notorious” is a mother’s movie , although Hampton’s comment wasn’t entirely complimentary, as she called Ms. Wallace “judgmental.” She said the rapper’s mother, like most mothers, may not know her son as well as his friends — some of whom weren’t included in the movie.
She said the lyricist’s death left a lot of matters unresolved between parties and the effects — which include members of Big’s camp’s attitudes toward the movie — are still ongoing.
” ‘Pac was somebody who was constantly talking about dying,” Hampton said. “Big named his albums Ready to Die and Life After Death, but he’d also [joke], ‘Yeah, if I make it across the street.’ … So when I look at how ‘Pac went to the studio and did like two dozen albums, he was preparing to die. Biggie was not ready to die by any stretch of the imagination. So what’s left behind is kind of a mess. He was the glue to his crew. If Jay died, [his crew] would be straight. Biggie just wasn’t ready to die, and no one around him was ready for him to die. He had friends who were super depending on him. So, like Wayne says, there’s a lot of people … like, with Kim … for some, that was the highlight of their life. Like how someone is stuck in their high school days or college days.
“Big would be disappointed with how a lot of that sh– is going down,” she added.