Former Vampire Diaries actress and singer Kat Graham‘s latest film role is one of the star’s most prestigious to date. That’s because she was tasked to portray fellow real-life actress and singer Jada Pinkett Smith in the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me, which arrives everywhere in theaters today.
Jada was close friends with the late rapper during their time at the Baltimore School for the Arts as teenagers.
Kat tells ABC Radio, “When I first found out I was doing the film, I was beyond excited. I was like, ‘OK, I gotta get to work, ’cause I can’t mess this up.'”
She continues, “I didn’t want it to be an impersonation of Jada Pinkett. I wanted to capture the energy and the dynamic of who she was and her relationship with Pac and maybe what that meant to them.”
Fortunately for Kat, she was able to talk with Jada and gain her support.
“She was super receptive and super positive and really beyond supportive, which was such a amazing moment for me because I never even thought I’d even talk to the woman in my life, let alone meet her,” Kat says.
Even more important for Kat during her time on the All Eyez of Me set was coming to truly understand Tupac’s influence at the height of his career, and his legacy.
“I didn’t realize how much he would mean to culture until all these movements of the Black Lives Matter and then you have all these rappers that don’t have necessarily the political activism, social activism that somebody like Pac had,” says Kat. You realize how important and how treasured a man like that should be.”
All Eyez on Me is in theaters now.
Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.