12 Behind The Scenes Details You Didn’t Know About 8 Mile

12 Behind The Scenes Details You Didn't Know About 8 Mile

Eminem has so many pseudonyms and aliases that one wouldn’t necessarily know what to call him if they were to run into him – Marshall Mathers, Slim Shady, the G.O.A.T.of all rappers. One name that comes to mind to many film fans is “Bunny Rabbit” from 8 Mile.

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It’s been 20 years since director Curtis Hanson and Eminem gave the world one of the greatest underdog hip-hop movies of all time. Some fans say Eminem gives 8 Mile one of the best pop star performances in film history. But as popular and well-known as this cult classic is, there are several behind-the-scenes facts that audiences might not know about it.

Updated on March 19th, 2022, by Alex Gentile: As the years go by, 8 Mile’s legacy proves to be lasting. “Lose Yourself” continues to play around the world, and has been cemented as a culturally relevant classic. This year’s Super Bowl saw the track performed at perhaps one of the most celebrated and widely watched events of the year at half-time. New BTS facts have been added to this piece to help give further insight on the film that solidified Eminem’s widespread influence.

12 Eminem Lost 24 lbs And Appears In Every Scene

The celebrated rapper may be recognizable from the second he appears on screen, but that doesn’t change the fact that Eminem went through some massive physical changes to play the down-and-out Detroit native who lives in a trailer park. His dedication perhaps helped make some critics call 8 Mile a great movie starring a non-actor.

Not only that but Eminem was also asked to dye his hair back to brown for the filming of the movie since he was rocking his signature bleach-blonde hair at the time. But what’s even crazier than the physical transformations is that viewers will see this worn-out Slim Shady in every single scene of the film. This truly was Eminem’s show.

11 8 Mile Was Sent Out Under The Name “The Mars Project” And Filmed Under The Name “Untitled Detroit Project”

Eminem on the poster for 8 Mile

It could be considered somewhat surprising that 8 Mile picked up such a loyal fan base so quickly because, according to ShortList, the film was sent out to movie theaters under the pseudonym of “The Mars Project” to shroud the project in secrecy before release.

Along with that, the title for the feature wasn’t decided until filming was almost finished with the project being worked on under the name “Untitled Detroit Project”. Neither of those titles is as catchy as 8 Mile so it’s safe to say that they made the right call.

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10 Quentin Tarantino & Danny Boyle Were Approached To Direct

According to Cult MTL, two of Hollywood’s most renowned filmmakers wanted a crack at directing Eminem’s motion picture and both of them came extremely close to doing so. In Boyle’s case, he even came on and met with Eminem and the other producers before ultimately deciding that their creative differences wouldn’t allow him to direct the film the way he wanted to.

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Quentin Tarantino wasn’t as close as Boyle was to getting the job, but it’s rumored that he genuinely wanted it but would’ve had to back out of making Kill Bill which just wasn’t an option.

9 Real Detroit Sites Are Showcased

The abandoned Chin Tiki bar from 8 Mile.

Eminem is known for repping his city, and 8 Mile appears to strive for authenticity. As such, the movie was shot on location in Michigan. However, it also showcases real bars and restaurants in the city like the Chin Tiki Bar and Restaurant.

However, there are some inconsistencies with the film’s timeline. 8 Mile takes place in 1995, and the Chin Tiki closed its doors around 1980, according to Critiki. Eagle-eyed fans can note some other out-of-place items like newer cars popping up on screen.

8 8 Mile Made Oscar History

Man accepts Oscar for Lose Yourself by Eminem in 8 Mile.

8 Mile made waves as a movie, but the film’s song “Lose Yourself” became a stand-alone hit. The track is still relevant today, and Eminem recently reminded audiences of that at the Super Bowl in February.

The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, making it the first rap song in history to do so. Mathers perhaps wasn’t expecting to receive the accolade. He didn’t show up to the ceremony and wasn’t able to accept the award in person.

7 8 Mile Was Anthony Mackie’s First Movie

The man who is about to take up the mantle of Captain America in cinema’s most historically successful film franchise faced his greatest enemy back in 2002 – and it was his first movie ever.

That’s right, Papa Doc himself, the man who was supposed to be the top-dog of Free World and dethrone Eminem as the greatest freestyle rapper was Anthony Mackie’s 1st film role. Mackie has gone on to have himself quite a career, and taking on Slim Shady probably didn’t hurt it.

6 Southpaw Was Meant To Be A Sequel

Do audiences ever wonder what an 8 Mile sequel might have looked like? As it turns out, highly-sought-after director, Kurt Sutter (creator of the Sons of Anarchy series) had the same thought and started developing a sequel to 8 Mile in which a boxer who loses custody of his daughter ends up trying to get her back with Eminem playing the role of the boxer.

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Unfortunately, certain things fell through in the film’s production and it ended up not working out with Eminem as the lead, and Jake Gyllenhall was brought in to replace him – as well as nixing the whole potential 8 Mile sequel subplot.

5 Future Was Based On Proof

Eminem and D12's Proof leaning on their knees looking at the camera.

Fans of 8 Mile no doubt remember Mekhi Phifer’s Future. Rabbit’s best friend can be seen in both their candid moments together and also as the host of the underground rap battles that showcase some of the best freestyles in 8 Mile.

Rap fans perhaps recall Detroit hip-hop collective D12, which Eminem helped make famous. His collaborator and friend widely known as one of D12’s members, Proof, was an inspiration for Future’s character, according to The LA Times. However, he plays a smaller different part as Lil Tic in the film.

4 Eminem Was Supposed To Mime His Words, But He Started Rapping

There are nearly a dozen scenes throughout 8 Mile where Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith Jr. displays his lyrical mastery, but one scene that was never meant to be as authentic as it came out is the freestyling battle in the parking lot.

According to the script and the director, Eminem was going to write a “freestyle” that was then going to be dubbed over the film while he just mimed some words on camera. However, after listening to a few of the other artists spit some verses, Slim Shady just had to step in and do what he does best.

3 “Bunny Rabbit” Is For Eminem’s Big Ears

One of the greatest things about the rapper, and why so many people tend to gravitate toward Eminem’s persona and alter-ego, is that he will call anybody out – including himself.

Marshall Mathers has always been the person to clearly, and obscenely, tell it how it is and he has no problem fitting himself into that category, proven by the fact that his character, Bunny Rabbit, gets his nickname because Eminem has some pretty decent sized ears. But even better than that is finding out that Eminem was called “Mickey” (as in Mickey Mouse) when he was a kid for the same reason.

2 8 Mile Couldn’t Film The Final Battle At The Shelter (Eminem’s Original Club)

Eminem rapping in 8 Mile

It’s ordinarily a good thing when any place that is rundown and considered dingy or decrepit ends up turning itself around and becomes a respectable place of business – just not in this instance.

Director Curtis Anderson and Eminem agreed that it would add special authenticity to the movie if they filmed the final rap battles at the club where Eminem got his original start, The Shelter. Unfortunately, the club had become too nice of a place to fit their vision for the scene and they ended up having to drop the idea.

1 Eminem Wrote 8 Mile’s Songs In-Between Shooting Scenes

Eminem writing in 8 Mile

Marshall Mathers is one of the world’s most successful recording artists, and walking hand-in-hand with that title is the incredibly busy schedule to go along with it.

It turns out, Eminem was so busy during the filming of 8 Mile that he had to write the songs for the films in between the takes and scenes he was shooting. As we all know, that ended up giving hip-hop one of its most celebrated songs in “Lose Yourself.” It’s hard to say if it would necessarily happen again if Eminem were to make another film – but some audiences wouldn’t be surprised.

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About The Author

Jonathan Meschutt
(212 Articles Published)

Jonathan Meschutt is a writer based in Upstate New York. He’s had every job you could think of, including garbage man, dishwasher, administrative assistant, catering cook, and a dozen more, but now works as a list writer for Valnet Inc, and is covering entertainment topics for Screen Rant. He has a B.S. Mass Communication degree, focused on Film (see what he did there?) and has spent the past three years as the writing assistant to an Emmy nominated television screenwriter.

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