Eminem’s manager and 8 Mile executive producer Paul Rosenberg drops eight gems you didn’t know about the flick.
1. CURTIS HANSON WASN’T THE ONLY DIRECTOR CONSIDERED
[Future Slumdog Millionaire director] Danny Boyle was in the early running. He had a cool take, really raw and aggressive. He came to Detroit, but Marshall didn’t connect with him the way he did with Curtis Hanson so we didn’t go with him. We probably reached out to [Quentin Tarantino]—he was so popular then. But looking back, his movies are so stylized; I don’t think that would’ve worked with this subject matter.
2. B-RABBIT WAS ALMOST A BELLBOY
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.
3. «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.
4. NAS’ «MADE YOU LOOK» ALMOST MADE THE SOUNDTRACK
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.
5. EMINEM GOT BUFF FOR FILMING
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.
6. DETROIT TRIED TO BLOCK 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.
7. 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.
8. 8 MILE’S TITLE WAS PICKED LAST MINUTE
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