EXCLUSIVE: Kat Graham on Playing Her 'Idol' Jada Pinkett Smith in Tupac Shakur Biopic 'All Eyez on Me'

by Raphael Chestang 11:58 AM PDT, May 10, 2016
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Kat Graham on Playing Her 'Idol' Jada Pinkett Smith in Tupac Shakur Biopic 'All Eyez on Me'

Kat Graham dished to ET about the emotional task of playing Jada Pinkett Smith in the upcoming Tupac Shakur biopic, All Eyez on Me, and the special connection she has with the veteran actress.

"[Jada] is a pretty profound lady," Kat told ET's Katie Krause behind the scenes of her new Foster Grant sunglasses campaign. "[She's] always forward thinking and an extremely powerful person."

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Jada became close friends with Tupac after they met in high school at the Baltimore School for the Arts. Their careers took off in the '90s at the same time, but their paths diverged after Tupac's 1995 imprisonment. In an interview with Howard Stern last year, Jada explained that they had "a very hardcore disagreement" that pulled them apart in the months leading up to his death in 1996. According to Jada, their relationship, while close, was always strictly platonic.

"The most important thing to me is to capture the essence of their relationship, because they had such a complex and an incredibly dynamic friendship," Kat said.

Kat's passion for the role was clear to Jada, and Kat was thrilled to have Jada's full support in making the film.

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"She called me a few weeks ago and we talked about the project and I told her what I was doing in it and parts of her life that we're recreating, and she's extremely supportive and a loving woman," Kat gushed. "We sound similar, and I'm a sound person. She is a musician too, and I was an engineer before I was even a music artist, so I'm all about tones and we have a similar tone ... She's pretty much my idol."

In fact, Kat holds Jada in such high regard that she started to cry when Jada told her "I trust you" to play the part.

"It's nice to be trusted with something as profound as that, and I just want to do her justice," she said.

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Another important female role in the movie is Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur, who is being played by Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead). Kat opened up about Afeni's death earlier this month at 69.

"I think that she'd be really proud and really happy that we had done as much as we could to protect and honor and remember her son, and her legacy," Kat shared.

All Eyez on Me, starring Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Tupac, is due out Nov. 11.