Curtis Hanson, the director behind the films “L.A. Confidential,” “8 Mile” and “In Her Shoes,” was found dead in his Hollywood Hills home on Tuesday afternoon after passing away from natural causes. He was 71.
In 2002, Hanson famously teamed up with Eminem to make the semi-biographical film, “8 Mile.” The film went on to be a hit with critics and even bigger box office success which eventually led to Eminem winning the Academy Award for best original song for “Lose Yourself.”
At the time of its release, “8 Mile” opened at No. 1 in theaters, making $51 million in its opening weekend. At the time, it was the second highest opening weekend for an R-rated movie in the United States.
After news of Hanson’s death broke, Eminem issued a statement to Billboard, praising the late director and saying he made him into an actor. “Curtis Hanson believed in me and our crazy idea to make a rap battle movie set in Detroit. He basically made me into an actor for ‘8 Mile.’ I’m lucky I got to know him," Eminem said.
In a 2002 interview with Rolling Stone, Hanson spoke about working with Eminem on the film. “I knew going into it that he had experience performing and also adopting a character, Slim Shady.”
“What I was looking for was actually the opposite of that. When you adopt a characterization, that’s artificial. You hide behind that,” he said. “What I needed in this story was the appearance of a complete lack of artifice. I needed the appearance of one more or less exposing himself emotionally.”
In a separate interview, Hanson praised Eminem’s acting. “If Internet piracy kills the music business, Marshall Mathers need not worry. He’ll have another career.”
Other actors who had worked with Hanson also paid tribute to the director. “So sad to hear about Curtis Hanson. Great director. Great man. Riding that river with him was one of the greatest gigs of my life,” tweeted Kevin Bacon.