AllHipHop.com Alternatives  

Naturi Naughton: Naturious K.I.M.

l_07212611974e8355770c132a5529a21d2

Naturi Naughton’s role as Lil’ Kim in the upcoming Notorious film reveals the essence of the Lil’ Kim we have all grown to know. While Lil’ Kim herself has publicly voiced her discontent with Naughton’s portrayal, perhaps it has more to do with the way Lil’ Kim is depicted in the life of Biggie more so than Naughton’s fine job at acting.

Voletta Wallace, along with other key members in Biggie’s life have openly expressed their amazement at Naughton’s recreation of Kim. Regardless, this breakout role proves that Naughton’s early days in 3LW were only skimming the surface of her future superstardom. With Notorious in her pocket and Fame on the horizon, Naturi Naughton is well on her way to “queen bee” status.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: Today at the press junket when Voletta Wallace was sitting there speaking with us, she said she had to make it a point that out of all of the actors in the movie – they all did a phenomenal job – but she felt that you were the one that when she looked at you and saw your acting and saw you on stage, she’s like, “That was Lil’ Kim. I looked at her and I saw Kim. Everyone did a phenomenal job, but when I saw her there, I saw Kim. It was so scary that sometimes I had to turn away.”

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

Naturi Naughton: That is such a compliment.  I did not know she felt that strongly. Like, wow.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

AHHA: For someone who had the potential luxury of interviewing or speaking with or hanging out with a person who’s fortunately still alive [Lil’ Kim], but you didn’t have that opportunity and yet Biggie’s mom is saying you nailed that role, how did you do it?

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

Naturi Naughton: It’s funny because sometimes I honestly am like how did I do this? Because I didn’t have the privilege [to speak to Lil’ Kim] like you said, but the beauty of this role is that I had a lot of other resources. Like I was able to really research her. I read a lot…I read a lot of stuff about her upbringing, some of her issues as she was a young adult at home and being homeless and on the streets and how she met Big in the area. So I actually went to Brooklyn a lot. I had never been to Brooklyn. I’m from Jersey, but it was great that I had all of the resources to research her background.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

And then I had Lil’ Cease and Money L and people from Junior M.A.F.I.A. that really really talked to me and gave me a lot of insight – what it was that was special about Big and Kim’s relationship, or how she used to do stuff. They would be like, “Damn you’re scaring me, you doing it just like Kim.” You know, and I was just trying to channel her in every way I could by reading, watching her videos, choreography routines she’s got…really just embracing the woman that she was, even before she became Lil’ Kim. I wanted to make sure that I let people know that she was human and had a vulnerable side too.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

AHHA: Yea I’ve met Kim and she’s a sweetheart. You know, the contrast from the Kim on record –

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

Naturi Naughton: So different! So different! I mean she’s like totally [different]. That’s what everybody says. It’s not that Hardcore…which is so similar…it’s like me. I mean playing this role is so different than my actual personality…people were like ,“How did you go there? You cursing up a…” People that know me are like “What Naturi? What?” It’s a stretch, but it was a great challenge to have.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

AHHA: Since you don’t normally curse or act aggressively, did you relate to the demure side of Lil’ Kim?

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

Naturi Naughton: I related to both sides actually, because even though I don’t act out the way maybe she did in the movie, I have felt that. And it was a chance for me to actually be that other person that I don’t get the chance to be in my normal life. I would never necessarily have a fight or cause a problem in the studio or you know certain things…I would never get onstage and flash the audience, but hey this was like the opportunity for me.

Whatever I was feeling when you’re angry or frustrated, I’ve been there so I could relate to some of that hurt. You know feeling like you’re not good enough. I mean I’m sure there is always a point in each person’s [life]…especially women…that we could relate to. I’ve been there in a relationship, I’ve been there on the business side. Just the pressure of feeling like why doesn’t he love me the way I want him to or the way I love him? So I kind of used some of that and injected that into Lil’ Kim because she was feeling the same way I had.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

AHHA: There is an ugliness to their situation. How do you reconcile that with some of the lighter moments? How did you convey that kind of…some of it is actually a little disturbing as far as the back and forth between them. How did you bring that up?

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

Naturi Naughton: And you mean the back and forth between Kim and Big?

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

AHHA: Yes.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

Naturi Naughton: It’s disturbing. It’s kind of sad because you know it’s hard playing second or always coming second to someone else. I honestly – what I did was just let my feelings kind of take over a lot of times in those scenes, and you know the lighter moments were great to have too when they’re just having fun and he’s creating her and she’s with her suspenders being cute and sexy.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

But then there’s those moments where she feels like, “What don’t you see in me?” and I think that when that happens in those moments, I just let my feelings take over. As an actress I really wanted to just let it pour out so that I wasn’t trying to cover anything up because a lot of times as artists (and Lil’ Kim I’m sure), we put on this façade to show how strong we are and that’s the kind of rap artist she was. And behind the strength, there’s weakness, there’s hurt. I think I let my own hurt kind of just ooze out. This role was therapeutic for me.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

AHHA: Is there any difference between conveying that emotion on the microphone or in front of the camera? Is there any difference between how you let that out?

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

Naturi Naughton: Yes because on the mic you can overdo things so that it really picks up so people can feel like you say things. You know, especially when I was rapping a lot of the songs like [Naturi goes into character] “ugh WHAT WHAT!” It’s the way you could kind of use the mic like you know I’ma slay you! But you know sometimes on camera with film, you want to show those emotions, but you have to hold back so that you…you know your eyes can’t do too much.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

You have to keep it small and minimal, because on camera they’re like oh you’re doing too much. I’ve learned that because I’m not from film, I was on Broadway and everything’s like big upset or hurt as opposed to just feeling that sense of rejection in a very slight way. So doing it on a microphone is so much more free because you can move, you can do whatever and really get into it and be as nasty and say whatever, but on camera you have to do it but keep it minimal.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

AHHA: Do you think…and we can all have our own speculations…but do you think Big loved Kim?

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

Naturi Naughton: I do. I think he loved Kim in a very unique way. Different from…because you know how you love somebody and you love somebody else another way? I think it doesn’t take away from love itself. It’s still valued as love; it’s just a different kind. And I think Kim really loved him. The love that Big and Kim had was genuine because they came up together.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

It’s a different love when you been with somebody from the streets, seeing them struggle, been there before they were Big or before they were Kim, and being able to grow with that person. Even when you have your trials and tribulations and you go through your drama, there’s still love there and no matter what you go off and do on the side, I think at the end of the day in the bottom of his heart, he loved her.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

AHHA: What do you think it was that made Big pick Faith? Just being her for the duration of the filming.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

Naturi Naughton: Being Lil’ Kim, I think if I was in character I would say – I still do to this day if I was Lil’ Kim – would be like, “I don’t really know what made him pick her.” Which is why there’s still that sense of unresolved feeling. The fact that you can’t answer those questions are the reasons why it hurt so much. That’s when it lingers on. It’s still that lingering unresolved feeling, because I can’t answer that, I’m sure she can’t…no one can. And it’s one of those things that even in character I would still say I can’t…that’s why it hurts so much, because I can’t figure out why this man won’t choose me.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

AHHA: So let’s talk about your next project. You’ve got Fame coming up.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

Naturi Naughton: Yea I’m excited, I’m doing Fame. MGM is doing a remake. It’s gonna be amazing. I am playing the role of Denise. It’s the Irene Cara role, a reinvention of that. All the names are changed, everything is new and it’s a modernized, because you know Coco Leroy? [laughs] A lot of the names are pretty old, so [MGM] just wanted to bring a new fresh edge to Fame. It’s a great cast…I love it. We just started shooting. It’s gonna be really great.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

I get to sing “Out Here On My Own”. I have some really great songs. I’m playing the piano. I’m actually a classical pianist in the movie, and then I discover I have this other talent which is singing and it’s beautiful. I’m really excited so it’s great to show range. Going from a role like Lil’ Kim, [while] I definitely loved playing Lil’ Kim, I don’t want to be swept up into that circle.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

AHHA: So you’ve got two homerun movies. Are you going to be sticking with acting? Are we going to get an album?

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

Naturi Naughton: Yea I’m hoping so. I mean the album, I can’t give a time on right now because it’s so many things pulling me every which way with the acting and I’m enjoying this moment. I feel like when I’m put in certain situations, they’re meant to be. I was in a situation at 15 to be a recording artist [in 3LW]. I did two albums, I had a platinum album, I’ve done it.

So I can honestly say even if I…not that I’m saying that I wish I won’t go back, but if I don’t get back to the record industry right now, I know I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I’ve had my time, I’ve had my moment. And now this is my chance to enjoy this moment and I’m gonna hold onto it. It’s precious to me to just let this moment really really settle in and enjoy it.

Additional reporting by Odeisel.

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>

blog comments powered by Disqus

AllHipHop Archives of Culture

Copyright © 1998 to Infinity, AllHipHop.com, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Powered by WordPress.com VIP

AllHipHop.com Today