Nicole Sperling
March 06, 2008 AT 08:01 AM EST

Rapper Jamal Woolard (a.k.a. Gravy, pictured) has landed the lead in the biopic Notorious, based on the life of rapper Notorious B.I.G., killed in 1997. Woolard won the role after a nationwide search that began online in August, and stars Angela Bassett, who plays Biggie’s mom, Voletta Wallace; Anthony Mackie (We Are Marshall), who’s been cast as Wallace’s rival Tupac Shakur; and Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher) as Sean Combs. George Tillman Jr. (Men of Honor) will direct the Fox Searchlight film, which begins shooting March 24 in New York City. Woolard gained notoriety in 2006 when he was shot in the buttocks on his way to an interview at NYC radio station Hot 97. He finished the appearance before being taken to the hospital. Ouch.

addCredit(“Johnny Nunez/WireImage.com”)

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