After premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, Bodied —the film produced by rapper Eminem and directed by frequent Taylor Swift collaborator Joseph Kahn — is getting a release beyond the festival circuit.
YouTube has acquired the worldwide rights to Bodied, it was announced on Wednesday. A special sneak peek presentation of the film will be held at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday before a theatrical release, which will then be followed by a debut on YouTube Red later this year.
Kahn previously discussed the difficulty of getting distribution on the film in an interview with Vulture. “A lot of the major distributors didn’t understand it,” he said. “I heard Netflix just didn’t like the way my protagonist wasn’t really a protagonist — which is the entire point of the movie! I’ve had offers that want me to chop up the rap, make the protagonist more likable. None of that is happening on my watch. But we’re close to cutting a deal.”
Bodied, written by former rap battler Alex Larsen (a.k.a. Kid Twist), is the story of Adam Merkin, a progressive grad student who inadvertently becomes a battle rapper. Calum Worthy (American Vandal), Jackie Long (Idlewild), Shoniqua Shondai (The Fosters), Walter Perez (The Avengers), and Rory Uphold (Hella) star in the film. Real-life rap battlers Dizaster, Dumbfoundead, and Hollow Da Don are also featured, as well as media personality Charlamagne Tha God.
Some critics called Bodied a “high-octane, highly politically incorrect indie effort” and “feverishly entertaining spectacle” that “bristles with big ideas.”
Kahn’s career largely consists of music videos. He directed the visuals for many of Taylor Swift’s hits — including “Look What You Made Me Do,” “Bad Blood,” “Out of the Woods” — as well as hits from Eminem, Maroon 5, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry.
He also directed James Van Der Beek and Katee Sackoff in a dark and gritty “Power/Rangers” short film.