November 2002
One Shot : A Q&A with Eminem

Interviewed by Wilson Morales

Eminem as Jimmy in Universal's 8 Mile - 2002One Shot : A Q&A with Eminem

Itís not easy to have your life story be presented on the big screen, especially while you are still alive. Loose based on his own life, Eminem reaches new ground in as actor in 8 MILE. The story follows Eminem AKA Jimmy ďBunny RabbitĒ Smith Jr. and his early rise to fame. Not wanting to repeat the same answers to every reporter/ journalist who will ask the same questions, Eminem had us all in the same room and gave us his take to certain issues.

WM: Did you always want to do a film your life?

E: When I first started doing videos, people were coming at me with different little movie offers and stuff. They wanted to know if I could act a little bit or something. Basically we wanted to do a movie. I felt that if I was gonna do a movie, first of all, I wanted it to be authentic, and have a reason to do it. And not just bank of my success or anything like that. So basically, we had somebody write a script.

Nashawn Breedlove and Eminem in Universal's 8 Mile - 2002WM: How did the script come to you?

E: We had a few scripts thrown at us, and then Scott Silver came to me, and then we had several meetings between myself, him, and Brian Glazer. We sat down, talked about the movie and what it should be about. At the time, when scripts were being thrown at me, and whatnot, I was so busy with the music that I didnít have that I didnít have time to, like, really focus 100 percent. But as soon as I got the script, and started reading a few pages, I was like, ďyo, letís do itĒ. I called my manager Paul. There was a down time in between the Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show, so I knew I could it.

WM: Can you talk about the scenery and going back to í95?

E: When we took Scott around, we showed him what the hip hop scene was like four or five years previous to when we was coming up, and what it was about. Different spots, different locations. You know, and basically, like, let him scout out Detroit and see what it was about for himself. And also show him where we used to be at on this day, and this day and this day, like, you know, Friday would be the Shelter.

Eminem and director Curtis Hanson on the set of Universal's 8 Mile - 2002WM: How was it working with Curtis Hanson?

E: You know, Curtis Hanson wasnít from this world. I Ďm not really from his world either, you know, with the whole acting thing, so we basically had to each other. He had to trust me on certain things, like the raps in the movie, and the music in the movie and stuff, and I had to trust him on the acting. I had never done it before, besides videos and whatnot. I put a lot of trust in him. I didnít even look at any playbacks.

WM: Can you talk about the battling scenes?

E: Battling was and still is so intense to somebody, to an emcee, an underground emcee who has no name, or whatever, and is trying to get a rep, battling is, like, everything. Like, if you win a battle, itís like being in basketball and winning the championship. You know, thatís how important it is to you. If you lose a battle, itís like you lost the championship. And itís, like, you know, for an emcee who really, seriously wants to become something and build a rep for himself, if he loses a battle, itís like losing a boxing match or something.

De'Angelo Wilson, Omar Benson Miller, Eminem, Evan Jones and Mekhi Phifer in Universal's 8 Mile - 2002WM: Is your character afraid of embarrassment from all sides of his life?

E: Yeah, Jimmy is embarrassed about his mother. Where she lives, you know, Jimmy kind of had a place with his ex-girl on the Detroit side. Broke up with his girl, had to move back home in a trailer park and live with his mother. Heís embarrassed of her. She embarrasses him constantly. You see that throughout the movie. Itís like, he loves her, but damn. You know, damn, mom. Iím, you know, thereís a lot of different instances in the movie that youíll see that heís embarrassed by her, and heís really, like, kind of ashamed at what is.

WM: What Mekhiís character in the film an essential part?

E: Of course. Mekhiís like the big brother trying to lead him and guide him. Even though Future may not be as good as Jimmy, he still respected in the city. Heís known for battling and heís done it so long that heís become a host of the battles, and people know him. He doesnít have to prove anything to anyone. Heís trying to take Jimmy and show people what talent he has. So basically Mekhi plays just the big brother role.

WM: When did you have time to write the music?

E: When I wasnít rehearsing or trying to memorize my lines for the movie, I was writing. I had a pen in hand, and when they would say action, Iíd have to give the pen and paper to somebody and go into the scene. Because I felt like, if you donít capture it right now, because this movie, like literally took me back to that time, and to that place, stripped me of all ego, before I was Eminem, before I was anybody, you know, I had to go back to that.

WM: Whatís your message in the end?

E: You can make something of your life and it doesnít matter. It just depends on your drive. Thatís the whole point of the movie. Where you come from doesnít matter, whether itís the north side or the side of 8 Mile. You can break out of that.