'8 Mile' Director Curtis Hanson Dies at 71
Hanson spoke about working with Eminem -- who won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for film's soundtrack single, "Lose Yourself" -- in a 2002 interview with Rolling Stone: "I knew going into it that he had experience performing and also adopting a character, Slim Shady," Hanson said. "What I was looking for was actually the opposite of that. When you adopt a characterization, that's artificial. You hide behind that. What I needed in this story was the appearance of a complete lack of artifice. I needed the appearance of one more or less exposing himself emotionally.
"And, so in my getting to know him, I had to assess and then make an educated guess of whether he would be able to do to that and whether he would trust me and the environment I would create enough to do that."
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Hanson also said he didn't want to pigeonhole 8 Mile as a "rap movie." "Hip-hop movies usually illustrate the lyrics of certain kinds of hip-hop songs," he said. "You have a lot of guns, you have a lot of drugs and so forth. Our story is about hip-hop fans. They don't live the life that is depicted in hip-hop lyrics, but they identify of the emotion of those lyrics."
In another interview with Rolling Stone, Hanson praised Eminem, who made his acting debut in 8 Mile: "He's an extraordinarily gifted artist," Hanson said. "If Internet piracy kills the music business, Marshall Mathers need not worry. He'll have another career."