'SNL' Alum Jay Pharaoh Once Auditioned to Play Tupac Before Landing First Biopic Movie Role in 'Spinning Gold' (Exclusive)

SNL alum Jay Pharaoh had revealed that he's auditioned for a number of biopic roles over the years, even once being up to portray a famous late rapper. While speaking to PopCulture.com in support of his new film Spinning Gold — in which he plays real-life Casablanca Records co-founder Cecil Holmes alongside Jeremy Jordan as primary founder Neil Bogart — the comedian exclusively told us that, while this is the first time he's done it on-screen, he has actually been considered for many others, such as Tupac. As well as some others that could still happen.

I just thought about that. I'm like, 'Wow,' Pharaoh said in response to reflecting on having done countless celebrity impressions over the years, but never actually portraying a real-life person in a movie until now. "There have been so many biopics I have gone out for and I didn't... there's been a few. There's a couple that still could work that I can still do, but I auditioned for a few of them," he said, then offering some details about nearly playing the hip-hop legend. "Oh man, I could tell you. Back in the day, I was up for playing Tupac, and this was back in the day when Antoine Fuqua was directing. He wanted me to play that and he left because they didn't..." Pharaoh stopped and shifted direction, "Anyway, anyway. Another one... Let's not talk about that."

Elaborating on what it was like to play Holmes, Pharaoh explained, "This is my first time getting to play an actual person and you want to know something real? There is no audio or video visual from Cecil Holmes that I found. So I had to play this character sheerly off of the understanding of his relationship with Neil, which is he was that dude's right-hand man. Anything that he wanted, Cecil was right there to help facilitate that. Cecil was the buffer. Cecil was the man who spoke the language, who smoothed relationships out when they needed to be smooth. He was always the dependable one. Neil could always depend on him no matter what."

He continued, "And even when he seemed like the grimace in the movie, he still had his back. But, he said, 'I don't know how the hell we are going to pull this off. I don't know how we are going to do this. And I'm usually the one that's right there with you. I don't even see this happening this time. And then if we do this, we're going to lose more money? Yo, I have to live. I need to live.' So I played that character off of that man and I think it translates." 

Pharaoh then commented on the "relationship" dynamics between himself and Jorda "on screen together seeming like we are real friends." He added, "We are in real life because we built that in real life as well. So I'm happy, man, but damn, this is my first one." 

Finally, the actor joked that he "would love" an opportunity to play Holmes again, considering that the real-life records executive went on to some other major accomplishments, such as working with artists like Michael Jackson and Luther Vandross, and being the one to sign New Kids on the Block to their first record deal. "Hey, we can do it," Pharaoh said. "I would love to play his character in a solo movie. That would be so dope. Oh my goodness." Spinning Gold is set to open in theaters on Friday, March 31. Click here for showtimes.