Inside Eminem's uncredited film debut
The rapper plays a crazy bad guy in Dr. Dre's new movie, ''The Wash,'' but don't look for him in the credits
In ”The Wash,” Eminem plays a disgruntled former car wash employee so crazed he makes even Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg shiver behind their buckets of suds. But don’t look for Mr. Marshall Mathers to get any credit for his scenery chewing performance. Even though he appears in three scenes — including the finale, which pivots around his gun-toting character — the rapper doesn’t appear in the film’s trailers, posters, or credits. ”We didn’t want it to be misleading,” explains Interscope records spokesman Dennis Dennehy. ”The cameo’s a surprise, and we wouldn’t want kids to be disappointed that it’s such a small part.” But Dre gives a different reason for Eminem’s low profile: ”That was a decision made by his management because he’s making his own movie right now.”
It’s no surprise that Eminem wanted to downplay his debut in ”The Wash,” given the decidedly more impressive pedigree of his first starring role, scheduled for release next summer. In ”Detroit,” loosely based on Eminem’s real life rags to riches story, Oscar winner Kim Basinger stars as the fledgling rapper’s mom, along with Brittany Murphy (”Don’t Say A Word”) and Mekhi Phifer (”O”). Curtis Hanson (”L.A. Confidential,” ”Wonder Boys”) directs.
Eminem is clearly hoping to make his own ”Purple Rain” (Prince’s 1984 hit), but even with Hanson’s help he may wash up at the box office. ”Eminem has an edgy reputation, and if he can recreate that image on screen, it will help,” says ReelSource analyst Adam Farasati. ”But not only do audiences tend to dismiss musicians as actors, movies about music are also a lousy draw. ‘Almost Famous’ and ‘Rock Star’ got decent reviews and had strong talent like Cameron Crowe and Mark Wahlberg involved, but people still wouldn’t see them.” Hey, if ”Detroit” flops, at least Eminem can cry on Mariah Carey’s shoulder.