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Mekhi Phifer recalls shooting ‘8 Mile’ with Eminem & his reaction to ‘Lose Yourself’




Mekhi Phifer, who played Future in Eminem‘s ‘8 Mile’ movie, has recently joined Rich Eisen on his show where he dished the dirt on making ‘8 Mile’, his time on ‘ER,’ and landing his first-ever role in Spike Lee’s ‘Clockers’ in a round of ‘Celebrity True or False.’

“Yes, I almost turned down the role in 8 Mile because of ER TV show. To my agent I turned it down. And then they were like ‘no, you are not turning this down’ because I was due to start ER. ER was already a mega show. I was joining at the end of season 8, last couple of episodes and I really wanted to play a doctor. ER had all them Golden Globes, the Emmys and 9/11 had just happened. So, people were scared to fly. I’m New Yorker, I saw what happened to the towers. I did know Curtis Hansen work, LA Confidential and Wonder Boys and all of that, great great great director, rest in peace.” said Mekhi Phifer.

Then he continued: “They flew my out to Detroit and I met with Eminem. We spent few days together and chopped it up. It was great. We hit it off immediately. I saw how serious he was. They could not give me the script. I had to read the script in Curtis’ office because they were being so hush hush about it. I loved it. But it was not what you see on the screen. I knew I could bring some nuance to it and something different, certain energy and certain spirit so…Then ER’s John Wells said go do the movie and soon as you finish the movie, you come and start ER. I rep the movie and the week later I was on ER set. I’m glad I did it. I mean, Eminem threw my name in the song and won an Oscar. It was the most popular downloaded songs ever. ”

“I was surprised when he included my name in ‘Lose Yourself.’ We were shooting one day. Eminem had three trailers. He had one trailer to sleep and stuff like that. He had a studio trailer because he was doing his album and the soundtrack at the same time. And he had a gym trailer to work out. And around two in the morning, we are shooting one night and he came back to the set and said ‘Yo, Mekhi, after this take I wanna take you to the studio. I want to put your name in the song. We all went to the trailer and he played the song and it was raw. It was not mastered or mixed. We got to the party like ‘there’s no movie, there is no Mekhi Phifer’ and everybody erupted. I didn’t know it was gonna be…I didn’t know 8 Mile was gonna be 8 Mile. And I didn’t know the song was gonna be as impactful.”

“He told me if I put your name on a song, is that cool? I said ‘hell yeah! that’s cool!’ because back then Eminem was crushing people with…you know, he was killing people if he put your name in the song, usually it’s not good. It ends your career. He smack you around with his lyrics. So, I was very proud of that and very appreciative of him making me a part of that in a bigger way than was initially it was gonna be.”

“My stuff during battle scenes were totally ad-lib. All of the stuff that I said on stage cause that was not on the script. All of my instructions to the rappers, all of my audience participation, all of that was ad-lib. They wrote their rhymes because they had to have rhymes written because of continuity. But my stuff was totally ad-lib. ‘DJ, spin that s–t!’ all that stuff was ad-lib and the reason I said ‘DJ, spin that’ is because I forgot the guys name [laughs]. I don’t remember his name but he was a very good DJ. Shout out to Detroit, I’m sure he’s favorite in Detroit.” Mekhi Phifer added.

You can watch the interview below: