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HUSTLE AND FLOW

About The Production
"This is a Memphis story – a movie about making music by any means necessary,” says Craig Brewer, writer-director of the new film "Hustle & Flow.” "Music has been our common love and language. It's our chance to take our pain, our struggle, our tools, and put it into something that has a beat, raw and unfiltered.”

"Hustle & Flow” is the story of DJay, a hustler who finally figures out a way to realize his dreams. An ultimately universal story set in the world of Memphis hip-hop music and inspired by the rhythms of that city, "Hustle & Flow” features new music by innovative artists that bust genre barriers. Driven by a tour-de-force performance by Terrence Howard, "Hustle & Flow” received the Audience Award and Cinematography Award at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

Producer John Singleton, who had previously directed the hit films "Boyz N the Hood,” "Shaft,” and the upcoming "Four Brothers,” agrees that the film's universal themes cross boundary lines. "Hip-hop has now pervaded popular culture; it's taken up the same cultural space that rock ‘n roll once did and Craig knows this world – particularly Memphis hip-hop – inside-out,” notes the producer. 

"I felt that ‘Hustle & Flow' is a Memphis story – much like the story of Elvis Presley or Isaac Hayes,” adds Brewer. "Those guys didn't have much, but the fact that they didn't have much created the very people that they were and made them unique in their craft; that fact ultimately propelled them into greatness.”

Brewer says the idea for the movie came from life. "My father had died, very unexpectedly; I was beginning to have thoughts of my own mortality,” he says. "I lost him to a sudden heart attack – he never smoked and never drank, but a blood clot ended his life at age 49. When you are the only son and your father dies at 49, you can't help but think you're on borrowed time after age 50. Being that I was 27, I couldn't help but feel that I was past the halfway point.

"At the same time, I was location scouting in Memphis for another movie and this hustler rolled up on me. He was trying to sell me his woman, and his mumble, his hustle, his spin, was unrelenting – he even tried to sell me his car. He just would not let me go. So I just put the two together – I thought, ‘Man, if that guy had the same mid-life crisis that I had, and suddenly he started thinking about making something creative, what kind of story would that be?' It seemed to me that his creative outlet would be music – in Memphis, that means hip-hop, crunk – and his hustle would translate into his flow.”

Out of that encounter, Brewer invented DJay, a hustler trying to make good by finding his voice. Terrence Howard plays the role of a man desperately trying to change his life.

"I had to let go of 80% of what I know and concentrate on what makes DJay who he is,” says Howard. "For someone like DJay, it's about survival. Craig once told me, ‘DJay is not as smart as you are. If you were in this situation, you would handle it a lot differently. DJay only has what he has.'”

To learn the life of a street hustler in Memphis, Howard spent time with Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia, a local Memphis crunk group. "J taught me that someone in DJay's position can't allow emotion or sympathy to compromise his situation,” says Howard. "I learned that to become someone like DJay, I'd have to let go of a piece of my conscience and take hold of a bigger piece of trying to survive.” 

Still, it was the everyman quality of the character that lured Howard to the role. "‘Hustle & Flow' is about the human experience of wanting to better yourself, wanting more,” says Terrence Howard, who plays DJay. "We can all relate to it. Even if your life is completely different from these characters', there are elements to what they're going through that we can all relate to. You feel for DJay and see

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