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Studio to Produce Film on Notorious B.I.G.

Fox Searchlight says it has secured the rights to a film about slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. (search) that is to be produced by the artist's mother and his former managers.

The studio is in negotiations with Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day") to direct the biopic. Cheo Hodari Coker, who wrote the biography "Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Notorious B.I.G." has been tapped to write the script, Fox Searchlight announced Tuesday.

The studio's president, Peter Rice, called B.I.G.'s life "a unique human story."

The rapper, whose real name was Christopher Wallace, was also known to fans as Biggie Smalls. He was gunned down March 9, 1997, after a music-industry party in Los Angeles. The case remains unsolved.

His mother, Voletta, said in a statement that while several documentaries have been made "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," his mother said.

B.I.G.'s former managers Wayne Barrow and Mark Pitts will produce the film.

"Searchlight gave us the opportunity to really be able to come in and tell the story the way it was supposed to be told," Barrow said. "It's not just a hip-hop film, it's a film of life and a film of love."

While plans for the film are moving along, a Hollywood ending has yet to be reached in the legal case surrounding Wallace's death. On Wednesday, a federal judge declared a mistrial in the wrongful death suit his family filed against the city of Los Angeles. The family alleges police officials covered up officers' involvement in the murder.

Wallace family attorney Perry Sanders Jr. has said the suit will likely be refiled.

Fox Searchlight is owned by News Corp., which is also the parent of FOXNews.com.