Notorious Biopic: Derek Luke Initially Declined ‘Diddy’ Role

Actor Derek Luke has uttered about what it was like playing the role of Diddy in the acclaimed biopic, revealing he initially declined the role due to “too much heat.”

Luke appeared on The Breakfast Club on Monday, April 17 and spoke about starring in 2009 late Biggie Smalls motion picture, which he said he rescinded numerous occasions despite the Bad Boy Records label executive personally asking him to do it.

The ‘Antoine Fisher’ actor expatiated there was a lot of anxiety at the time enveloping how accurately Biggie’s life and subsequent demise would be depicted on the big screen, as well as longstanding hearsays about Diddy’s alleged involvement in the Jamaican descent rapper’s slaying.

“One of Puff’s guards sent word that they wanted to holla and I was like, ‘Word, okay.’ So I met him, greeted him, nothing to it,” Luke said. “I think he said he may have had something coming up and that was it. It was brief.

“I don’t know how long after that, I was on Rodeo and I heard somebody calling my character’s name. Somebody yelled out of the car and they called me Boobie from Friday Night Lights, and I looked and it was Puff. We were talking, still nothing.”

He proceeded and added: “Long story short: I get a call and they were like, ‘Yo, we doing Notorious.’ I was like, ‘Eh, nah. That ain’t really for me. Let somebody else rock that.’”

DJ Envy then asked why Luke was so reluctant to sign onto the project.

“Too much heat, too much cultural pressure. Not enough time to get into the character,” Luke answered. “‘Cause they were ready to go right there and I was like, ‘Nah.’

“Then I got a call from Puff and … I was like, ‘I’m gonna pass.’ And then he came back again…Somehow, he called [again] and I and my wife were like, ‘Well, maybe this is a sign. Maybe this is a divine sign.’”

Again starring Jamal Woolard, Angela Bassett and Anthony Mackie, Notorious was released on January 16, 2009. While the film grossed $44.4 million on a $20 million budget, it obtained mixed reviews from critics.

One of those critics was Lil Kim, who hasn’t ceased expressing her disdain for the film and hatred of Power TV series star Naturi Naughton, who played her role in the movie.

© 2023 • Edem Latsu Nukafu
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