Mekhi Phifer Says He Almost Turned Down Role In Eminem's "8 Mile" Because The Film Seemed Cheesy

Mekhi Phifer recalls meeting with Rich Porter's family and friends before starring in "Paid In Full."

In the 2002 film 8 Mile, actor Mekhi Phifer served as one of the film’s main characters, but according to Phifer, it was a role he nearly passed on. While speaking with Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club, the Harlem-born actor revealed that when he was first approached about 8 Mile, the movie seemed cheesy.

“It was fun,” he said. “It was interesting because when it first came up I was like ‘It sounded cheesy.’ I was like ‘nah.’ And I was due to start ‘ER’ actually right before the movie started. And I was like ‘Nah, I’m just gonna start the show, man.’”

It wasn’t until Phifer read the script and met Eminem in Detroit, that he began to gain interest in the film. He would ultimately go on to star in 8 Mile as Future, a character loosely based off of Eminem’s good friend, Proof.

“I wasn’t stressing it, but what I did was I read the script. And the script was real slick,” Phifer said. “And then they flew me to Detroit. And then me and Em just got together and just started building. You know what I mean? And I was like ‘Yo, I like this cat.’ You know? And then Curtis Hanson, dope ass director. It just all came together. You know what I mean? And we kinda wanted to be true to—Cause it was loosely based on Em’s career and Em’s life and Proof…And I felt honored—especially R.I.P to Proof. Being able to show him in that light. Cause I thought the movie was real slick. And I had fun portraying him.”

In addition to starring alongside Eminem in 8 Mile, Phifer had the opportunity to work with another Hip Hop artist while filming the Charles Stone III-directed film, Paid In Full. Phifer spoke on what drew him to the film, which also stars Harlem rapper Cam’ron, during his interview with The Breakfast Club.

He also recalled meeting with the friends and family of Harlem drug dealer Rich Porter while preparing for his Paid In Full role.

“I’m from Harlem, so I grew up as a kid knowing about these cats,” he said. “You know what I mean? I never met ‘em personally as a kid. I was just a youngblood. So, when it came around I was like ‘Yeah, I gotta be a part of this. This is a way to represent where I’m from.’ And then playing Rich Porter, or Mitch in the movie, you know—cause he was so cool. He was like legendary back in the days. You know what I mean? And people always talked about him and talked about they whole crew…What I did though as far as research, I met with Rich Porter’s sister. I met with his homeboys. One of his best friends, this cat Jay Black. So, you know, we just roll around, building, talking about things, and they show me certain spots where certain things happened. They showed me the McDonalds where they went to do the money drop for his little brother. When they kidnapped his little brother.”

In addition to 8 Mile and Paid In Full, Mekhi Phifer has also starred in Dawn Of The Dead, Soul Food, and Clockers. The actor will soon appear in the Neil Burger-directed film Divergent when it’s released on March 21.

RELATED: Eminem Covers VIBE Magazine, Reflects On "8 Mile" 10th Anniversary

45 Comments

  • A Trillionaire

    Take a look at Mekhi Phifer's filmography. He doesn't seem to be too particular about most of the scripts he has chosen. The height of his relevancy was when he did 8 Mile anyway.

  • Absetiley92

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  • Anonymous

    Eminem haters everywhere. Whats new?

  • Spinderelly

    Should've went wit his first instincts. *clown* a$$$ movie

  • anonymous

    My Moto, F*** loto, Ill get the 7 digits from your mother for a dollar tomorrow.

  • theBavarianIlluminati

    Textbook judgment of a book by its cover. And all you washed up haters: ki!! yourself. I'll be sure to add some peanut butter to that casket full of jelly.

  • Squaarneequa Kareesha Williums

    true words he shoulda been the lead role and not that punk ass eminem bitch like who cares about M&M like in forever?!?

  • Anonymous

    I just want a box of pizza.

  • da commanda

    It still was cheesy, come on, "Rabbit"?, "Cheddar Bob"?, GTHOH!!! Never understood these pseudo-autobiographical movies like 8 Mile and Krush Groove..tell the real story, or don't...

  • cinavenom

    That's because Eminem is cheesy in general.

  • Anonymous

    TRANSLATION: THEY OFFERED HIS C-LIST ASS A BIGGER PAYCHECK LOL

  • realentfan

    Carter 5 Leaked Songs http://www.datpiff.com/KWhite-Drama-Presentz-Dat-G-shyt-mixtape.584406.html

  • Anonymous

    the film was generic and cliche yes, but given em was the lead(and did it well), fans gained a deeper look into his life and hip hop in Detroit in general. If EM wasnt the lead, it would never have mattered, just like Space Jam. The corny screenplay was overpowered by the hype and massive specticle it grew into(the iconic lose yourself which is THE most succesful rap song ever and the "Final battles") that oddly enuff are still reffered to today for the lessons it taught (living your deficinsies) Bottom line,, u replace em with matt damon, the movie would never b remembered. anyone who relates to em To them its Raging Bull, to the simps its Air BUD GOLDEN RETRIEVER, to the average fuck, its 8 mile

  • Anonymous

    lol this is why the people don't like you Eminem fans, you go overboard with your stanning, it's more weirdo than love and the TRUTH is Eminem don't even like y'all, he has PLENTY of lyrics telling you clowns to f-ck off

    • Ram'con

      ^^ LMAO this nigga doing IN no homo

    • Anonymous

      they ain't gonna own up to the truth, Em done wrote 1000s of lyrics telling you bigots to f-ck off he don't even hangout with y'all, stay with a crew of Blacks around loving the game, knows the history quite well too when it comes to bars and here y'all f-cknuggets go, putting him on a pedestal, ignoring all the history he spits so you can channel your covert racism and best believe than many Hip Hop fans enjoy Eminem's rapping but wish to not engage you rabid fans at all, there's no convo to be had with you delusional haters

    • Because The Internet

      Go away please, no one likes you.

  • Anonymous

    movie wasn't cheesy at all. lol @ these niggas claimin cheese this cheese that. you wanna know whats cheesy? the cats that gangsta rap that aint gangsta. kanye west is mad cheesy. rick ross is mad cheesy. jay z is mad cheesy. him and b remixin tupacs songs and shit for $$. disgusting. lord jamar trollin the media is mad cheesy. need i go on?

  • Anonymous

    Cheddar Bob was a worthless character and a token to make it seem like Em wasn't the sole white boy in his D12 type crew.

  • Anonymous

    It was hella cheesy it was basically a remake of Rocky were you have the sympathetic white trash figure who is struggling to rise up in a Black male dominated genre (boxing/rapping). You have the stereotypical Black militant and the stereotypical Black Uncle Tom and the menacing Black protaganist who has to be smiled before our white hero can triumph. The menacing Blacks were called Leaders of the free world a sick imitation on Public Enemy's Security of the first World name. The slickest part of 8 mile was when they showed Imitation of life on a TV playing in the background.

  • Anonymous

    this guys a very smart guy

  • Edubb

    Really the movie was wack. Who cares about some drug-head punka$$ skinny whiteboy that can rap. Phifer could have done better even though his part made the movie.

  • Anonymous

    You aren't Denzel. Cheesy movies are all you got.

  • Anonymous

    Well, actually, the movie is cheesy.

  • Bobyahed2dis

    Who cares about this never been nigga and his gay white boyfriend. Eminem hasn't had a hit since encore and his last two albums flopped.

    • sam snead

      I don't care about record sales but to be honest Eminem is an icon but made a weird turn half way into encore and has never been the same since.

    • Anonymous

      ive listened to every eminem song 100 times and trust me everything after the eminem show is STRAIGHT ASS. NO EXCEPTIONS!!!

    • John the Maniac

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminem_discography Here, see how "non-successful" really was since Encore.

    • Because The Internet

      "Eminem hasn't had a hit since encore and his last two albums flopped." Nigga you must live under rock to be that stupid. Go back to your Rick Ross and shitty trap music fuck boy..

    • Anonymous

      "Eminem hasn't had a hit since encore and his last two albums flopped." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Thanks for the laugh.

    • Anonymous

      Pain is Love 2 150 million

    • Ddot

      As of March 14th, the Marshall Mathers LP2 has sold 1,990,000 copies.

    • Anonymous

      Recovery sold 10 million copies

  • Not Impressed

    8 Mile is easily one of the worst movies I've ever seen in my life. Before I watched it, I thought it was going to be this amazing, epic, thing, because of the positive reviews, but I was sorely mistaken. The acting was terrible, the story was corny, the characters were one dimensional and stereotypical, the whole thing was just absolutely laughable. I don't know how it got the praise that it did, maybe white people just got excited about a white dude coming up on hiphop culture or something. I'm not impressed

  • Anonymous

    And its no movie, there's no Mekhi Phifer

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