The production function of “Notorious”


Fox Searchlight Pictures began filming “Notorious” last week, a biography of the famous wrapper, Christopher Wallace, otherwise known as Notorious B.I.G.. The movie intends to document Mr. Wallace’s life struggles and tribulations. The New York Times quoted George Tillman Jr., the director of the film, about the production’s function. [It] follows Mr. Wallace from childhood in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn through his death, and various scenes will capture the spirit and reason for certain things without making detailed accusations. What seems interesting about Mr. Tillman’s artistic spin on Mr. Wallace’s career are the specifics of Mr. Wallace’s public image. Although an extremely successful musician, collaborating with other rap artists such as Sean “Puffy” Combs, Tupac Shakur, and Mary J. Blige, Mr. Wallace was detained several times for misconduct. On March 23, 1996, he was arrested outside a Manhattan nightclub for chasing and threatening to kill two photographers who were trying to get his picture. He smashed the window of their fleeing taxicab and proceeded to beat a fan unconscious who was watching the event. Again in June of 1996, Mr. Wallace was arrested for drug and weapon possession outside his home. Not only were Mr. Wallace’s arrests made public without apology, but he seemed to reinforce this disfavored reputation through his music. In his hit song titled, “Ten Crack Commandments,” he divulges protocol for selling drugs. The introductory lyrics say: “N*gga can’t tell me nothing bout this coke Can’t tell me nothing bout this crack, this weed, To my hustlin’ n*ggaz I been in this game for years, it made me a animal.” Although Mr. Wallace exhibits a poor image from his actions while highlighting his less than perfect lifestyle in his music, his reputation is purposeful. I, therefore, find it hard to be in favor of this production that doesn’t “make detailed accusations” about Mr. Wallace’s life. Mr. Tillman seems to be making a weak attempt at honoring a young rapper’s life and tragic death by ignoring his societal (and truthful) image. --Suzanne Block

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