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GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN'

About The Production
To make the leap from rap star to movie star, Curtis "50 Cent” Jackson had to relive and re-enact some of the most painful events of his life — the death of his mother, the danger and brutality of the drug trade, and the day he was shot nine times in front of his grandparents' house.

As Jackson re-enacted that traumatic event, his director was amazed by the first-time actor's ability to separate his own emotions from the character's actions. "He was lying on the ground in the rain for 2 hours while we set up the shot, made up with nine bullet wounds,” says Sheridan, describing the scene, "and he doesn't move. I thought, ‘This is an exceptional person.' Shooting the scene was probably, in a way, like therapy for him.”

"It was freezing cold out the night that we shot the scene,” recalls Jackson. "And they wet the streets down, so I was soaking wet, and laying in the middle of the street. It was crazy.” Therapy or not, the actor calls it one of the most physically challenging scenes in the film.

While Jackson could easily play the tough guy, his biggest challenge was having to cry in front of the camera. "On screen, 50 can come across as the tough bad boy, but when he needs to show that sensitive streak he's just as believable. I think you'll see the struggle in his eyes, says Sheridan. "It's all in his eyes — the pain and the suffering that he's conjuring up from the past.”

"I had to work on that long before I started filming,” he admits, "because I hadn't cried in so long. In my neighborhood, crying in front of the wrong person could bring you all kinds of trouble because they'd think you were weak. So I spent a lifetime not crying over situations, but just pushing, moving forward.”

What finally did bring the tears was "thinking about failing,” he confesses. "I don't want to fail. I'm afraid of failure; that's why I work so hard.”

"I'd say the danger for 50 Cent is that he works too hard,” acknowledges Sheridan. "He never stops; he's a machine.”

Production designer Mark Geraghty was charged with creating a world he never had before: the Bronx, circa 1970s. He found he could rely on his director for inspiration. "Jim is probably one of the best storytellers in the world,” says Geraghty. "For him, it's all about the story. He's able to draw you into the era, the meaning of the film, the emotion of the film. And once you understand the story, and how Jim sees it, you understand the world he's in. When you finally sit down to design a set, you know the world and the characters inside out, because Jim has explained it all so well. He's absolutely inspirational.”

Geraghty's intense research included movies, Internet, documentaries, and books. "Then, we created a world that suited our movie,” says Geraghty. "It's a world based loosely on the South Bronx in New York. But it could be anywhere. It's the poverty, and the hardship, and the lawlessness that we wanted to create,” he explains.

"A lot of the world of our film is decaying splendor,” explains Geraghty. "At one time it would have been a beautiful world; but it's been neglected. So we're using decaying colors, and rust, and things that are falling apart, just like the society is, to show that things have been left untended.”

The talented creative team also includes director of photography Declan Quinn, ASC, who previously collaborated with Jim Sheridan on "In America,” editors Conrad Buff, A.C.E., and Roger Barton, and costume designer Francine Jamison-Tanchuck.

"Get Rich or Die Tryin”' was filmed on location in New York — where the majority of the exterior scenes were shot amidst the constant noise of the El Train on the streets of High Bridge in the Bronx, giving the scenes their gritty edge. The film's interiors were built and shot on a soundstage in Toronto.

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