Within the short time that we were allowed to experience him, Pop Smoke proved to have a wide skill set that is sure to transcend the bounds of time. Though we lost him too soon, he left a lasting impression and will now be eternally commemorated via his posthumous acting debut next year.
According to a report from Deadline on Thursday (Dec. 10), Pop will be appearing in the Focus Features film Boogie, which will be released on March 5, 2021—less than a month shy from the one-year anniversary of his tragic death. The film will also feature unreleased music from the late Brooklyn drill rapper.
Boogie tells a coming-of-age story about aspiring high school basketball star Alfred “Boogie” Chin (Taylor Takahashi) living in Queens, New York. But among the challenges Boogie faces off-court in order to achieve his dreams of entering the NBA, he faces on-court rivals like Monk, who is played by Pop. Fellow rapper Dave East also appears in the film.
Boogie is also Eddie Huang’s feature directorial debut. Huang spoke of Pop Smoke’s charisma when the late rhymer auditioned for the role. In an interview with The New York Times Huang explained that the rapper’s acting ability was captivating.
“Pop shows up to the audition—Palm Angels head to toe—and he’s just a kid, but he has the voice of 50 Cent and Paul Mooney,” the director said. “You can tell he’s weathered, he’s an old soul. Within two takes, you could see the swag just come out of nowhere. He explodes on camera. I stopped the audition right there. He can turn emotions on a dime. He could be funny. He can be mean. A lot of actors just don’t have the depth of emotion and experiences, but because of what Pop’s gone through, he has a tremendous well to draw from.”
Huang goes on to share that, “He gave me a thousand percent. They were tough 16-hour days, overnights, and he shot five overnights in a row. Kids were coming on the bridge to watch us shoot the scenes. We would play Pop’s record,” he remembers. “All our actors, the extras, the kids on the bridge watching us shoot scenes, everyone was doing the Woo dance. It was pretty special.”
With the ongoing limitations of the coronavirus pandemic affecting the movie industry, it’s unclear if the film will premiere in theaters. Nonetheless, if theres one thing we can be sue of it is that this film will be utterly iconic.
Stay tuned to watch the Grammy-nominated rapper on a screen near you March 5, 2021.