Eminem’s controversial ”obsessed fan turned homicidal maniac” song ”Stan” was named by EW critic David Browne as the No. 1 single of the year. But before that, before the now controversial music video was released (MTV demanded major cuts to approve it for the music net), we brought you the back story on the casting and filming of the short. Here’s our November article in its entirety…
‘Stan’ and Deliver
Eminem’s song ”Stan” — a first person narrative of a deranged fan who ends up murdering his pregnant girlfriend and committing suicide — has been stirring up controversy since the 7 million selling ”The Marshall Mathers LP” was released in May. And the soon to be completed video, starring teen heartthrob Devon Sawa (”Final Destination”) in the title role, is set to raise more eyebrows. According to sources close to the production, the clip features a ”wife beater” tee wearing Sawa who pops pills, guzzles vodka, and ultimately drives off a cliff to his death. Most frightening? He sports a really bad bleach job in an attempt to emulate the real Slim Shady. ”I look like a yellow highlighter,” Sawa tells EW.com.
Playing his ill fated gal pal is Brit trip hop chanteuse Dido, who croons the song’s disarmingly breezy hook (she recently appeared with Eminem on ”Saturday Night Live”). In the video, Sawa tosses a screaming Dido in the trunk of his car before he takes the deadly plunge off the cliff.
Whether Eminem’s ”TRL” watching fans will ever see this violent footage on MTV is uncertain, though. Over the past few months, the music channel has faced intense criticism for promoting the venomous hip hop star because of his misogynistic and homophobic lyrics. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, for example, demanded that the network air an antihate speech PSA after Eminem’s performance on the MTV Music Awards.
So will this suicidal/ homicidal new video end MTV’s heavy rotation backing of one its most popular stars? Not likely, says one industry watcher. ”MTV has been Eminem’s biggest supporter,” says Carla Hay, music video editor at trade pub Billboard. ”None of his videos have been banned from MTV, and I don’t think this one will be.” Hay says the clip’s directors — Dr. Dre and Phillip Atwell, who also helmed Eminem’s hit video ”The Real Slim Shady” — will ensure that ”Stan” is ”TRL” friendly. ”They know that this video needs to get played on MTV in order to be a hit,” explains Hay. ”So they’re going to deliver something that MTV can show — a lot.”
And indeed, reports from the set suggest that Dre and Atwell have already planned an MTV version — sans the drugging, the boozing, and the trunk tossing — along with an all you can stomach director’s cut, which could be shown on Eminem’s website with his other videos. Interscope, the rapper’s record label, says the video, which is currently in the editing process, should be finished around Thanksgiving. Because nothing says holiday cheer like a good drug induced murder/ suicide.
(Additional reporting by Liane Bonin)
Read EW.com’s coverage of the breaking news about Eminem’s lost notebook.