NICK CHRISTOPHERS CAUGHT UP WITH JAMMAL WOLLARD AND HAD A SITDOWN ON HIS NEW CAREER.
NC: When did you first contract the itch to follow a career in acting?
JW: I first was involved in music as a rapper. People knew me and still know me as "Gravy". I was deep into the rapping game. Unfortunately, I ended up being shot outside Hot 97 years back and it led me to an opportunity at auditioning for the film "Notorious".
I went down to try and got casted. I went through a lot to establish myself as the lead in the film. I needed to do a boot camp for about four months to work into the image of Biggie Smalls. I put on some weight for the character and needed a specific contact lens as well as a second chin. Everything was a struggle.
I'm from Bed-Stuy but I also lived in Bensonhurst where I developed some ties with the Italians. I deserve this role and I have been back and forth to LA and New York to make this happen.
NC: As a rapper you were in the scene about what time?
JW: In 1999 I was with Violator Chris Lity who has 50 Cent on his label then I was signed to Clark Kent at Virgin Records as well. I soon moved on with Track Masters, Kevin L. and Warner Brothers. My book deal is with Warner Brothers with Tom Wally.
I had a lot of major deals they just didn't go as far as I wished it would. I ghost wrote for FOXY and wrote some tracks for Puffy as well. I first began at nineteen years old.
NC: What was like to go through the rigor of being casted for the first time?
JW: I never thought I would become an actor but with the grace of God it worked out. It was a lot of work it took me five months to master the role. I went to Julliard to study my voice with Kate Wilson. See Biggie spoke low not like me where my voice is higher pitched. I did the choreography with Tamesha Scott.
She worked with me for three months. I had to master the attitude of Biggie Smalls and his mannerisms. Actually once an older woman was in the studio and she happen to be Biggie's mom. She admitted that I was a perfect for the part. I guess it was because of my swagger.
I needed to speak to Mrs. Wallace so I can capture the true Biggie. It was a lot of work I even needed to study his CD's. I even studied the music his mom loved like Willie Nelson.
NC: Where you also a fan of Biggie Smalls prior to being apart of the film?
JW: Yes, I was. I am from Brooklyn. I loved his work.
NC: What news can you share with us about the film?
JW: The film's release is coming out on January 16th, 2009. It will be in nationwide. It is being released by Rock SearchLight. It was great working with Angela Basset I was always a fan. She taught me a lot of things. The show is real spicy. The film was shot here and in LA. It was all first class. For my first time it was sweet.
NC: We understand the film is more centered around Christopher Wallace than his the rapper "Biggie Smalls?
JW: Yes, it delves into the life of Christopher Wallace not so much his alias Biggie Smalls. The life of Christopher Wallace we needed to know the man behind the shades.
NC: What are looking to accomplish after the release of the film?
JW: I now have the acting bug in me. I would love to keep on acting. And the film is multi-racial it is for everyone to enjoy from my Italian pals in Brooklyn to everyone else in the country. I think the film will be huge.
NC: What kind of responses has the film received from the private screenings?
JW: You know it is a touchy subject and it has a lot of positive messages in the film. It shows that if someone has a dream and chases it, it can come to reality.
NC: Are there any actors that you have inspired you in your mission to be an actor?
JW: Yes, of course. Al Pacino, Denzel Washington, George Clooney and Robert DeNiro. You can't get any better than that. You need to have "Heat" and "Scarface" in your collection.
NC: Lastly, is there anything you would change from your past?
JW: No, because I would never had made it where I am now.