By Michael Petitti
Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures
50 Cent tries his hand at acting in his new film ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Is it really considered acting if he already tried dyin’ getting rich?
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, November 3, 2005
Contentious figures in hip-hop are about as rare as pop stars and starlets who don’t write their own tunes.
From Eminem to Snoop Dogg, rappers have always generated equal amounts of controversy and mythology. However, when Eminem and the ubiquitous Dr. Dre selected a new pupil in the school of hard knocks, gossip became gospel and the man, the myth and the legend that is Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson was born.
His story is now as known as any in hip-hop — no, in music. As a reformed street thug, 50 was trying to cut his teeth in underground hip-hop when he got his “shots” at the kind notoriety that makes an underground rapper a mainstream legend. Nine bullet wounds, an invitation into one of hip-hop’s most exclusive unions (Em and Dre) and one massively catchy single (“In Da Club”) later, 50 Cent is a household name.
Now, after two wildly successful albums (2003’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and 2005’s The Massacre), 50 has his crosshairs on a new target: Hollywood.
50 Cent looks to duplicate the success and formula of Eminem’s “8 Mile” with (surprise) a re-imagining of his rise to success titled (not surprisingly) “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.” He seems content with his unofficial slogan of sorts.
“I think when you say get rich or die trying, your perspective is going to change what that statement means,” 50 said. “If you’re a positive person and someone says they’re going to get rich or die trying, then you’re automatically going to assume this person is determined. But if your perception of the person is negative, then you’re going to think it’s literally get rich or die trying. For me … I don’t think that you sit and base everything and every decision that you’re making on someone else and what someone else is going to appreciate.”
The film tells the story of a street thug looking to break free through the majesty of rap. 50 opted out of acting lessons for the film because, well, it’s based on his life.
“I didn’t go take acting classes or read Shakespeare or anything like that,” 50 said. “I had someone come with me and kind of table read over the script, so many times that I had the … scenarios in my head to the point that it was like flowing.”
As far as re-enacting disturbing or troubling events in his real life, like — the 800-pound elephant in the room — being shot, 50 was pleased with the results and mostly at ease with replaying such traumatic times.
“I think they captured the mood of the actual situation,” 50 said. “Without totally emulating it, we created another scenario that gives the same impression as it was on me during the same situation. Me getting shot (in film) didn’t bother me as much because they changed it up a bit. The scene that was eerie for me was the operating scene because I was on an operating table, and it took us about eight hours to get the small portion we used in the film. … When I got up from that particular scene I wasn’t really in the mood to talk to people. I just went straight back to my trailer and relaxed.”
50 had two trailers on set, one for when he “relaxed” and another when he needed to bust a move.
“There’s great music in the film,” 50 said. “I created music for the film as I was making it. I had a studio trailer. Everyone else had a regular trailer. I had the same, but in addition, I had the studio trailer to create the music. … There were certain scenes in the film that needed music or references to rap that I had to kind of create for (director) Jim Sheridan to put in certain places.”
With the release of “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” 50 accepts and relishes in the fact that he will be broadening his fan base from hip-hop fans to moviegoers.
“There’s people out there that don’t accept hip-hop as a form of entertainment,” 50 said. “They just don’t like rap music, but they’ll like a film based on my life story especially when it’s about my life ahead of rap.”
Branching out into another medium does not have 50 worried about damaging his street credentials.
“I’m in progress. I’m moving forward,” 50 said. “I look at it, as far as street cred, like, ‘So, you saying the more success you have the less street you are?’ So, the object is to stay broke and unfortunate? They say, because I sell so many records, I’m pop. Pop is short for popular, but the content of the music is still a representation of the environment I come from. … I’m adjusted to it. … When you become successful and you’re in the public eye, you become public property, so you get subjected to all kinds of things. You gotta accept it. You gotta learn how to take it for what it is.”
You can check out 50 accepting life, love and rap for what it is tomorrow when “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” hits the streets. Theaters, that is.