Los Angeles Times Reports:
Days before the world premiere of his latest film, “Bodied,” the crackling battle rap satire that kicks off the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness program tonight with a trigger warning for the easily offended, filmmaker and frequent Taylor Swift collaborator Joseph Kahn snickered mischievously over sushi in Santa Monica. He was predicting what his most recent Internet enemies might make of the film.
The Korean American music video director, filmmaker and social media provocateur is clearly unafraid of controversy, and “Bodied” promises to stir plenty of it, amplified by the prominent co-sign of rap recording star Eminem, a producer on the film.
“It’s so intense, and there’s so much pressure, yet it’s so compelling that on one level it really is like a drug,” Larsen explained via phone from Toronto. “You get a fix of it and as soon as you finish, the elation is so incredible you want to immediately do another one. It’s one of the most grueling and exhilarating things you can do.”
It’s tempting to read a similar confessional quality into the involvement of Eminem, who came aboard as producer alongside longtime manager and newly minted Def Jam CEO and president Paul Rosenberg.
According to Rosenberg, Em was hooked by the film’s loving depiction of battle rap as an art form and is planning on contributing to the film’s soundtrack.
He also cautions against assuming that one Eminem-produced movie about a white battle rapper is a sequel to the other Eminem-produced movie about a white battle rapper, “8 Mile.” “Let me just make that very clear,” said Rosenberg. “It’s not autobiographical. We did that already.”
The idea of tapping a battle rapper to script a movie first came to Kahn in 2000 when he was attached to direct DMX and Eminem in a “Crow” sequel that eventually fell apart. “I’d actually convinced Eminem to be in it — I was going to do a DMX vs. Eminem ‘Crow’ movie where DMX was going to be the black Crow and Eminem was going to be the white Crow,” he said.
He shrugged. “It would have been a terrible movie because I would have made it funny, and ‘Crow’ movies aren’t supposed to be funny.”
While “Bodied” teems with the energy and detail of the subculture it represents, it also presents the brutal gladiator grounds of battle rap as the last safe space for free speech — vicious, venomous, cutting free speech, but free nonetheless.
“People who really understand the sport and understand the genre know who really belongs and who doesn’t,” offered Rosenberg. “If you belong and you’ve proven yourself and that you have the proper respect for the craft, the culture, and your opponent, the stuff that you say in a battle is never really taken that seriously in the real world.”
Watch the trailer below and wait for the “Bodied” premiere TONIGHT.