Clifford “T.I.” Harris is best known as a chart-topping, Diamond-selling Hip Hop artist. The man also known as Tip made his way to the big screen on several occasions as well.
T.I. made his feature film debut in the Atlanta-set coming-of-age drama ATL. Additionally, he starred in motion pictures such as American Gangster, Takers, Ant-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Cut Throat City.
Apparently, Harris missed out on playing the lead character in another teen movie filmed in his hometown. Nick Cannon got the role of Devon Miles in director Charles Stone III’s Drumline, but Tip did audition for that part.
Grammy Winner Dallas Austin Produced ‘Drumline’ & ‘ATL’
Atlanta-based music producer Dallas Austin served as a film producer for Drumline. During an interview for the Club Shay Shay podcast, T.I. recalled having a conversation with Austin about working with him on a motion picture.
“I was working on my first album, [Dallas Austin] was telling me about his first film. I was always like, ‘Yo bruh, put me in it,'” Tip told Club Shay Shay host Shannon Sharpe. “He was like, ‘Aight, yeah man. Say less.'”
T.I. continued, “He sent me to go read and I read. They were like, ‘Man, you got to learn how to play the drums.’ And I was like, ‘I could play like I could play the drums.’ They were like, ‘Nah, you gotta learn how.’ I was like, ‘Man, I don’t wanna do that.'”
T.I. Secured His ‘ATL’ Role Without Having To Audition
While T.I.’s lack of percussion skills prevented him from playing Devon Miles, the I’m Serious album creator explained how that missed opportunity eventually led to his inclusion in the ATL movie.
“That opened the door for me to do ATL. After I didn’t get the role for Drumline, I went back to Dallas and said, ‘Man, next time, just give me the role. I ain’t going to read or nothing. Just give me the role.’ And he was like, ‘Cool.’ He just gave me the role for Rashad in ATL,” stated Tip.
Drumline hit theaters in 2002. The fictional story about an HBCU marching band made $56 million at the domestic box office. ATL arrived four years later. Director Chris Robinson’s tale about a group of friends’ final year in high school grossed $21 million domestically.