"Charm City Kings" director Angel Manuel Soto and producer Caleeb Pinkett snapped up the "All Eyes on You" hitmaker as soon as he was released from prison in 2018 after serving time for violating probation, and also sold the hip-hop star on providing music for the film.
"He came back and adapted really well to the realities of the character," the filmmaker tells WENN. "His struggles and challenges helped the performance and the whole film, because of his commitment to the story. Meek totally delivered. That also speaks to the genius of Caleeb in seeing potential in someone who never acted before."
"The character of Blax could have been played many different ways, but we were able to construct the character a bit based on what Meek has gone through. Blax wants to do better and prove himself after doing bad stuff, and I think that speaks to Meek too, and how he can relate to the story. He taps into something deep inside himself and delivers a phenomenal performance."
Pinkett adds, "Because Meek has a past, and because of the things he's been through, he's perfect for the film, since he represents that world. Meek really does ride, and he makes the music for that culture. In many ways, casting Meek Mill in this film is like what John Singleton did in 1991 by casting Ice Cube as the character Doughboy in 'Boyz n the Hood'. Ice Cube was the biggest gangsta rapper in the world at that time, so his very presence made that film authentic."
The producer insists Meek's music was also a big part of the film. "The music for this movie has to be the music of the streets," he explains. "The music is another part of this film that elicits emotion. Swizz Beatz, and now Meek Mill, made the music that is so crucial to this culture. Swizz of course created the sound for the dirt bike culture back in 1998, producing DMX's song "Ruff Ryders Anthem". I put that song at the end of the movie over the sequence of real riders doing stunts, because that's what started it all. And now, Meek Mill is the new voice of that culture."