*One he met in high school. And one in Hollywood.
Kat Graham portrays Jada Pinkett-Smith, a friend of Tupac Shakur from the Baltimore School for the Arts, and Annie Ilonzeh portrays Kidada Jones, daughter of music magnate Quincy Jones.
EUR correspondent, Fahnia Thomas, sat with the “All Eyez On Me,” leading ladies to discuss how they prepared for their roles and their leading man.
EUR: How did you research your role? Did you speak with the person you are portraying?
Kat Graham: I spoke with Jada Pinkett Smith, after I finished the project. She has a great body of work, has done so many interviews and has so many different photos out there, so I was able to track – even down to hair – what she looked like and where she was at in her career at different times. She was super supportive.
EUR: …What did Jada say when you spoke with her?
Kat Graham: I don’t want to reveal anything but she was really supportive.
Annie Ilonzeh: I had to find everything online but they had such a private relationship there was only so much that I could find. LT Hutton and Benny Boom filled in the blanks. They were really close to the story and the people in Tupac’s life.
EUR: What was it like working with Demetrius Shipp?
Annie Ilonzeh: Demetrius really has the weight (on his shoulders), he is kind of caring all of us. Our chemistry is super organic and real. I love him and Kidada (Jones) loved Pac, so it worked.
Kat Graham: We have such a great dynamic. I remember when Benny was taking me to meet Demetrius for the first time. We were walking down the hallway and I was wondering, ‘what he’s going to be like, is he going to be cool?’ He was sitting down with his acting coach and we were wearing the same thing…a long-sleeve navy shirt, jeans and Timberlands. And I had just cut all my hair off. The photo they used in the movie – it’s not from set dressing or wardrobe – it was literally what we look like when we first met. At that moment, I knew we were going to have a special connection.