One of the best things about watching as many movies as we do is that it gives us the opportunity to watch young actors flourish from the genesis of their careers into full-fledged stardom. But even if these actors are not yet household names, their impressive body of work, gets us excited to see them in major theatrical releases.
Anthony Mackie is one of those guys. Last week, Mackie appeared in the romantic comedy What’s Your Number, and this week he’ll be seen in the sci-fi actioner Real Steel. These films will mark the second and third of four total films on his 2011 slate. If you aren’t familiar with Mackie, here are few films that will help you better acquaint yourself with this unbelievably talented performer.
Curtis Hanson’s 2002 drama 8 Mile turned out to be a career-defining project not only for Eminem, but young Anthony Mackie as well. The film revolves around B-Rabbit (Eminem), an aspiring rapper who desperately wants to use music as a means to escape his dead end existence. His quest, and his ultimate character arc, is bookended by rap battles against the established veteran Papa Doc whom Mackie plays to slick, edgy perfection. He’s like the Apollo Creed to Eminem’s lyrical, Detroit-based Rocky. Though 8 Mile was his first feature film, Mackie possessed an imposing swagger that belied his cinematic inexperience.
The Hurt Locker
Katherine Bigelow’s 2008 Oscar-winning drama about an Army bomb disposal unit left audiences gasping for breath. The film narrows the scope of the Iraq War down to a struggle between a few men and the machinery of terror. The film boasts a strong script and moments of nail-biting suspense, but what really makes The Hurt Locker so powerful are the performances of its outstanding ensemble cast. A particular standout among this cast is Mackie as Sergeant JT Sanborn. He is commanding and fully collected and provides the perfect counterbalance to Jeremy Renner’s hotshot bomb technician who insists on doing everything his own way no matter the consequences.
This 2009 biopic documents the rise and fall of Brooklyn rapper Christopher “Biggie” Wallace. While his hits burned up the charts in the mid-90s, Biggie found himself making major headlines with his violent feud with west coast rapper Tupac Shakur. This feud exploded from an exchange of lyrical insults to a barrage of bullets to the eventual deaths of both rappers.
In the film, Jamal Woolard delivers a powerhouse performance as Christopher Wallace that is astonishingly accurate. But equally chilling is the spot-on portrayal of Tupac Shakur by Anthony Mackie. This was no surprise given that Notorious was not the first time Mackie had played the tragic rap icon. In 2001, while still a student at Julliard, Mackie portrayed Tupac in the play Up Against the Wind.
The Adjustment Bureau
Based on the Phillip K. Dick short story “Adjustment Team,” The Adjustment Bureau tells the story of a clandestine organization whose sole function is to keep prominent and important individuals on a strictly designed path consisting of exact events that will lead them to their destined purpose in life. When a local politician becomes inadvertently aware of their presence, and their mission to come between him and the woman he loves, he spends the rest of the film challenging and thwarting the bureau at every turn.
The Adjustment Bureau is a fascinating mix of sci-fi and spirituality that ultimately plays out as a moving humanist thriller. Mackie plays Harry, the protagonist’s “caseworker” who becomes gradually more and more sympathetic to his unwavering desire to be with his true love. Mackie’s is by far the most complicated character in the film and he executes every emotional layer with ease and style.
In the Future
In addition to having landed a role in next year’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and the A-List ensemble of Gangster Squad rumor has it that Mackie is currently working on producing a biopic about 1930s Olympic runner Jesse Owens. This is a guy whose star is not only on the rise but rocketing into a whole other galaxy. Keep your eye on Anthony Mackie.
East Coaster Antoine Fuqua hopes to spread some California Love with his next project, a biopic of legendary slain rapper Tupac Shakur, says the Playlist. Though the 44-year-old filmmaker has numerous projects in development, including the action thriller Consent To Kill and the recently rumored reunion with his Tears of the Sun star Bruce Willis (that film, titled The Tomb, has been declared by Fuqua nothing more than "a conversation I've been having with Bruce"), Shakur will come first.
Fuqua told Digital Spy that "we're doing Tupac Shakur's movie next in September, that's what I've been starting up and working on now with Morgan Creek and Jim Robinson. I just got the greenlight from him and we're going in September. I've just started to prep that."
Moviegoers have become quite familiar with rappers at the multiplex over the last twenty years, both as the subject of and stars in films like Ricochet, New Jack City, Boyz N The Hood, Bad Boys, 8 Mile and Hustle and Flow. Most recently, Anthony Mackie portrayed Shakur in George Tillman's Notorious, a flavorful chronicle of the life and death of the late Christopher Wallace a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G. In that 2009 flick, local New York wordsmith Jamal Woolard channeled Wallace, shocking critics and pleasing fans of the fallen platinum-selling recording artist. Fuqua notes that he, too, may look to discover a new talent in his upcoming film.
Expect to hear more on this developing project over the summer, but in the meantime, take it back to the Summer of 1996 with one of Pac's most celebrated (and cinematic) music videos of all time, inspired by Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome:
Source: The Playlist, Digital Spy
A little like life imitating art …
Four men were stabbed at a New York nightclub during an after-party of the Notorious premiere, a biopic about rapper Biggie Smalls, The Associated Press reports.
Police told AP Saturday a 21-year-old victim was stabbed numerous times and was in critical condition at Brookdale Hospital. Three others were stable.
The Djumbala club is in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn. Police did not immediately release further information.
While the party had been promoted as the "official" after-party, Notorious distributor, Fox Searchlight, said it was not related.
The film takes a look at how Smalls, born Christopher Wallace, rose to fame, taking the stage name "Notorious B.I.G." It also delves into the feud Smalls had with West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur, which ended in both their tragic deaths. Smalls was killed in Los Angeles in 1997.
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Starting near the end of his short 24-year life and then told in flashback this film version of Christopher “Notorious B.I.G” Wallace’s (Jamal Woolard) rapid rise from the streets of Brooklyn to fame is told in standard-issue Hollywood biopic style. We see this Catholic honors student (played by his real life son Christopher Jordan Wallace) become a teenage drug dealer and accidental father before a chance recording finds its way to Sean “Puffy” Combs (Derek Luke) who engineers an almost immediate rise to fame fortune -- and trouble. “Biggie” now must juggle his newfound recording career a marriage to fellow artist Faith Evans (Antonique Smith) his romantic encounters with female rap comer L’il Kim (Naturi Naughton) and a major East Coast/West Coast rivalry with Tupac Shakur (Anthony Mackie) that leads to tragedy for both. As Wallace Brooklyn rapper Woolard is almost indistinguishable from the real man himself. He’s completely convincing performing B.I.G’s biggie hits and proves himself to be a first-rate dramatic actor as well -- at least in a story like this that he can clearly relate to. As his mother Angela Bassett makes the most of limited screen time (despite top billing) and expertly conveys the angst of a parent fighting a losing battle for her son. Luke again shows why he is so promising playing Puffy with just the right amount of flash and supreme confidence. Unfortunately the “balanced” portrait of Combs and many others in B.I.G’s life is tainted by the fact this film was produced by some of the real life players including his managers mother and executive producer Combs. George Tillman Jr. (Soul Food) directs this by-the-numbers account of Biggie’s life in a style we have seen countless times before. Except for a couple of occasions he doesn’t even let the rap sequences play out to give us an idea of how this guy whose songs reflected his rough Brooklyn lifestyle could climb to the top so fast. Whatever was special is lost in what appears to be a brazen attempt to sell soundtrack albums.
Angela Bassett has landed the role of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G.'s mother in the heavyweight's biopic.
The actress, who portrayed Tina Turner in What's Love Got to Do with It, has signed on to portray Voletta Wallace in the planned movie.
Bassett says she jumped at the chance to be a part of the project after taking a look at the script, which she insists does a "wonderful job of bringing his life to the page."
She adds, "It's flashbacks, starting at the funeral, through the eyes of different characters in his life."
The role comes less than a month after Bassett was honored with the 2,358th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.
Notorious B.I.G., real name Christopher Wallace, was gunned down after a Vibe magazine party in Los Angeles in 1997.
Newcomer Jamal Woolard will play the rapper in the new film.
COPYRIGHT 2008 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All Global Rights Reserved.
A little-known New York rapper will portray slain star Notorious B.I.G. in a biopic of the late hip-hop icon's life.
Producers Fox Searchlight--who wanted to avoid recruiting a well-known name--picked Brooklyn-based Jamal Woolard out of 100 hopefuls for the film, which will document the tragic rapper's childhood, his rise to fame and his untimely 1997 death in a Los Angeles drive-by shooting.
Directed by George Tillman Jr., the film--entitled Notorious--goes into production later this month and is set for release in January 2009.
The producers held an open casting call last fall in the hope of finding a realistic Notorious B.I.G. lookalike who could imitate the late star's rapping style, rather than hire a professional actor to play the part. Reggae star Sean Kingston and rapper Beanie Sigel were among the stars turned down.
Woolard--also known as Gravy--released a number of albums on independent labels in the 1990s before being signed by Warner Bros. In 1999, he was involved in a New York radio station shooting, but survived the attack.
Notorious B.I.G.'s mother, Voletta Wallace--who refers to her late son by his real name, Christopher Wallace--insists "Jamal's charming personality, warm spirit, wonderful sense of humor and beautiful smile" was the reason he was cast in the role.
She adds, "He is a talented and charismatic actor, and I am excited that he will bring Christopher's character to life."
COPYRIGHT 2008 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All Global Rights Reserved.