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Filming In Memphis
"Music and sweat has been pounded into the very bricks of this place,” says Brewer of his hometown, Memphis, Tennessee. "It's always been a place of misplaced hope. Everybody in the delta and the country came to Memphis to see if they could make something, but they would get stuck in it. There's something about Memphis that's got a whole lot of sin and a whole lot of salvation and they are equally tantalizing.

"I have a love for even the things that I hate about Memphis,” Brewer continues. "‘Hustle & Flow' had to be filmed in Memphis. This town has got character to it. It's still relatively untouched by progress.”

One of Brewer's favorite locations in the film is DJay's neighborhood. "I always loved that stretch of houses out on St. Paul Ave.,” he says. "To me, it has a very iconic look; southern houses are like that, uniform and all very close to each other. Shotgun houses, they call them.

"When we were filming in that neighborhood, everybody always said, ‘Oh, you're in a bad part of town, be careful.' And we didn't get any of that,” says Brewer. "We got nothing but love. We had hundreds of people pulling up their lawn chairs and watching us film. When we all said ‘Be quiet,' they all turned off their window units. I mean, that means your house gets hot, but they all did it. I get emotional thinking about how this stretch of neighborhood was helping us make a movie.”

Straight outta Memphis is DJay's "hooptie”: his beat-up car. "I can't get enough of them,” Brewer says. "When I roll down South 3rd St., I'll see a car like an old Chevy Caprice or a Cadillac or a Pontiac, with primer spots and different panels, and I can't take my eye off ‘em – there's something that's so beautiful to me about them. The chrome wheels always draw your eye – they give the car some sort of uniformity. The uglier the top is, the shinier the wheels are, and I just think, ‘Man, that's beautiful.' There's just something about it that feels like DJay.”

A film by a Memphis native featuring a sound exclusive to Memphis and a character that could only have come from its streets had to be shot there. "I felt like I was at home,” says Brewer. "I made ‘Hustle & Flow' the same way I made my first movie and my short films. I picked all the locations; I knew all the extras we were using; when we filmed at the strip club, I knew the strippers we'd cast; when needed a bunch of cars, I knew where to go to get them. I was just making another movie in Memphis, it was just with this big crew and A-list actors coming out to do it. It had to be filmed there.”


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