Fuqua lands notorious gig

'Training Day' helmer to direct Biggie bio

A correction was made to this article on July 20, 2005

Fox Searchlight is in negotiations with “Training Day” helmer Antoine Fuqua to direct a bigscreen version of the life and times of late rapper the Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls and Christopher Wallace.

Script is being penned by Cheo Hodari Coker, a journo who also authored the bio “Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Notorious B.I.G.”

Pic is being produced by Wallace’s mother, Voletta Wallace, and by his former managers, Wayne Barrow and Mark Pitts.

In a statement released by the studio, Wallace’s mother said that while there have been several documentaries “about Biggie the rapper, nobody knows Christopher the human being. He was somebody with feelings, somebody with a heart. Christopher was a son, a father and a good friend. It’s time for people to know the real him.”

Wallace was gunned down at the age of 24 at a Vibe magazine after-party outside L.A.’s Peterson Automotive Museum in March 1997. Eight years later, no one has been charged in the murder.Coker, a writer at Vibe magazine and the Los Angeles Times, was the last person to interview the rapper before his murder.

The end of Wallace’s legal saga remains in flux: Just last week, U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper declared a mistrial in a civil suit that implicates the LAPD, but other legal avenues remain open.

Searchlight prexy Peter Rice called Wallace’s life “a unique human story.”

Overseeing the project are Claudia Lewis, exec VP of production for Searchlight, and Zola Mashariki, a director of production at Searchlight who grew up in the same neighborhood as Wallace and was instrumental in bringing the pic into the studio.

Fuqua is repped by ICM.

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