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HOLIDAY SNEAKS | Get Rich or Die Tryin'

Landscapes, foreign and familiar

Hoping to coin a whole new persona

November 06, 2005|Geoff Boucher

50 CENT is about to walk a mile -- or is it eight? -- in the shoes of his mentor, Eminem. The rapper with the monetary moniker is both the star and the story of "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," which opens Wednesday, and he doesn't mind comparisons to "8 Mile," the 2002 film that put Eminem in theaters.

50 Cent said he hopes that he, like Eminem, will use the serious screen turn to gain heft with a mainstream audience: "I definitely saw what he did there, and I'm taking lessons from it," Curtis Jackson, a.k.a. 50 Cent, told The Times in Toronto last year as he was filming "Get Rich." "And believe me, I had a million questions for Em."

Both films are quasi-biographies of their stars, and each imported an acclaimed director from far outside the hip-hop world (Curtis Hanson for "8 Mile," Irish auteur Jim Sheridan for "Get Rich"). They both also have heavy-duty soundtracks to convert urban FM stations into movie boosters.

The big difference: "8 Mile" was "Rocky" with a microphone, presenting Eminem as the hard-luck underdog kid in rap contests; "Get Rich" is more like "Carlito's Way" for black New York drug dealers. Blood, guns and torture abound. "It's going to be a tough movie," 50 Cent predicted with a grin.

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