Rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, who has had success with his albums Get Rich or Die Tryin' and The Massacre, recently talked with Street about prosthetics, Shakespeare and his upcoming autobiographical film.
Street Film: Was it a big transition going from making music videos to making movies?
50 Cent: Absolutely. When you're making a music video, you spend a lot of time performing directly into the camera. On film, you're never supposed to look into the camera. It was tough for me to actually get used to it. They'll give you a mock where there isn't even a person in it, and you're supposed to deliver your lines to it. You're supposed to respond as far as your expressions and everything else naturally, like you're talking to somebody. It was definitely different from everything I experienced in music videos, even though some of the music videos had a theme or a plot to them where you're doing a little acting.
Did you take any acting lessons to prepare?
I didn't take acting classes to be a Shakespearean or anything like that [chuckles], but I had someone come with me and table-read over the script. We did it so many times that I had the actual scenarios in my head constantly flowing.
Since Get Rich or Die Tryin' is autobiographical, what was it like to replay some of the tougher scenes of your life?
It is therapeutic at some points, and rough at others. People always point to [me getting shot], but that scene didn't bother me as much because we changed it a little bit. The actual scene that was scary for me was the operating scene. I was on an operating table and it took us about eight hours of work to get the small portion that we used in the film. I had prosthetics and makeup on me, so I couldn't really move. When they would cut, I would open my eyes and see the operating room. I had been in that actual place before, but I was there unconscious. When I got up from that particular scene when it was done, I wasn't really in the mood to talk to people. I just went straight back to my trailer and relaxed.
Do you think that Hollywood can truly re-enact your life?
They can recapture the mood of the actual situation ... by creating another scenario that gives the same impression. Like in the film, I get shot in front of the house, and my grandmother calls me. [In real life] my grandmother was in front of the house when I got shot. There are some facts to it, while it is being fabricated a little bit. The experience is different but it still sets the mood of what actually took place.
What do you think of those who say rappers lose street cred when they sell a lot of albums?
When you're successful, you become public property ... Do they want me to stay poor? People say I'm pop, but that's short for popular.
With top selling CDs and now a new movie, what can we expect from you next?
I'm always looking forward for new options, a new opportunity to open up for me. I won't do acting again until I find a script that is exciting enough to commit to. I sacrificed [promoting my album] by being a part of the film because I spent three and a half months during the beginning of the album in Toronto.