1. Back then, Em was in his donuts-Taco Bell-Mountain Dew phase. But he wanted to make sure he was in great shape. He spent a lot of time working out—there was an exercise trailer on set. He got really fit. Eminem lost 24lb for the role.
2. Eminem was asked by director Curtis Hanson to dye his hair back to its natural brown. He didn’t want people thinking he was just playing his stage persona.
3. Danny Boyle was in early discussions to direct but his vision for the film didn’t match Eminem’s as well as Curtis Hanson’s did. Quentin Tarantino was also approached.
4. In the original script, Marshall didn’t work in the auto stamping plant; B-Rabbit worked in a posh suburban hotel. He had to carry rich people’s luggage. And his boss was a much bigger antagonist than what became the stamping plant foreman; he told B-Rabbit that he wouldn’t amount to anything. There was a throw-the-apron-at-your-boss scene. Curtis wanted to make it more raw.
5. 8 Mile‘s title was picked at the last minute, after the filming was finished. “We were filming the whole time under the name UDP: Untitled Detroit Production. We were damn-near done shooting—maybe three weeks left—when Curtis approached us with “8 Mile,” based upon his experience of Detroit and what 8 Mile represented. We all quickly agreed. —As told to John Kennedy
6. Lose Yourself was the first rap song to ever win an Academy Award. Eminem didn’t show up to collect it because he thought he had no chance of winning.
7. Gary Sinise was the first choice to play Greg, the boyfriend of Jimmy’s mother (Kim Basinger). The role was won by Michael Shannon.
8. Eminem was so busy during the time of production that the only time Eminem could write the songs for the film was during breaks between scenes.
9. When the piece of paper on which Eminem wrote the lyrics to Lose Yourself was put up for auction it made over $10,000.
10. The film made a massive $51 million on its opening weekend. That’s more than ‘Interstellar’ opened to two years ago! Its production budget was $41 million. It’s total earning stands at $245 million.
11. Along with Sons of Anarchy director Kurt Sutter, Eminem planned what Sutter called a metaphorical “continuation of the 8 Mile story”. In Southpaw, Eminem would have played a boxer who hit the big time but gradually lost his way. As 8 Mile was a reflection of Eminem’s early days,Southpaw was to be an echo of his struggles at the top. It never got beyond development.
12. Prints of the film were sent to cinemas labelled as The Mars Project.
13. The film marked the first screen appearance by Anthony Mackie, who plays Papa Doc.
14. Mekhi Pfeiffer nearly passed on the movie because he was asked to fly to Detroit two days after the 9/11 attacks in New York.
15. The atmosphere in the rap battles was so intense and went on for so long that several extras passed out or threw up during filming.
16. Eminem handpicked the battle instrumentals. Marshall thought O.C.’s “Times Up” and Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones” were great battle records—they were his favorite to battle to back when he’d freestyle in the Hip-Hop Shop. He personally pushed to put them in the film.
17. Detroit tried to block the house-burning scene. “When we were seeking permits, the city was really opposed. Back then there was an arson problem in Detroit, specifically on the night before Halloween (Devil’s Night). Ultimately, they made us choose houses already scheduled for demolition by the city on abandoned or old crack house blocks and made production pay for the cleanup and beautification of the block and contribute to a firefighter fund.” says Paul Rosenberg.
18. Nas’ “Made You Look” almost made into the soundtracks album. “We really wanted Nas to be on the soundtrack. I was pushing Steve Stoute (Nas’ former manager) to get a track. He brought me “Made You Look.” Unbeknownst to me, Nas had already finished a track (“U Wanna Be Me”) on one of Marshall’s beats. Em went with it because he produced it; he was more attached.” – Paul Rosenberg
19. “The Shelter” was recreated inside and out. The Shelter—where the battles took place—is based on the club [of the same name] in the basement of St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit, which still exists. The film version’s interiors were shot on a soundstage—it wasn’t the real inside of a club. The outside—where Marshall walks off in the final scene—was a faux exterior created on the front of existing buildings. People drive around Detroit looking, but they’re never going to find it.
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