MAK­ING STRONG IM­PACT

For­get Hol­ly­wood beef­cake Ger­ard But­ler, rap su­per­star 50 Cent reck­ons he’s the true star of adrenalin-fu­elled heist flick Den of Thieves

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY - NEALA JOHN­SON

Think new heist flick Den of Thieves is Ger­ard But­ler’s movie? Think again, says rap su­per­star turned ac­tor 50 Cent. “I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate Ger­ard putting all his time and en­ergy into my movie. But you know, it’s my movie,” he says, gig­gling in a way only 50 Cent can.

“Strangely enough, the pub­lic has been re­spond­ing like they know it’s my movie.”

The di­rec­to­rial de­but of Lon­don Has Fallen writer Chris­tian Gude­gast, Den of Thieves pits two groups against each other in gritty bat­tle on the streets of LA. There is 50 Cent and Pablo Schreiber’s team of mil­i­tary men turned out­law bank rob­bers and But­ler’s County Sher­iff’s De­part­ment ma­jor crimes squad, a rough and tum­ble unit largely in­dis­tin­guish­able from the bad guys.

Caught in the mid­dle is Straight Outta Comp­ton star O’Shea Jack­son Jr as the heist crew’s driver be­ing squeezed by But­ler’s cops.

Cur­tis “50 Cent” Jack­son de­scribes his char­ac­ter Levi En­son as “the strong si­lent type”, a man who prob­a­bly shouldn’t be rob­bing the Fed­eral Re­serve.

“He didn’t as­sess him­self to un­der­stand that he had too much at stake, too much to risk with his fam­ily,” he says.

“En­son’s mar­ried, he’s got five kids, big fam­ily, and is still will­ing to do the rob­bery – be­cause he’s got away with them in the past.

“But he’s not iden­ti­fy­ing that (Schreiber’s char­ac­ter) Mer­ri­men has un­rav­elled while in­car­cer­ated and is not even the same per­son.”

En­son’s fam­ily obli­ga­tions are rather hu­mor­ously il­lus­trated in a scene where the heist crew – filled out by some huge Hawai­ians – threaten his teenage daugh­ter’s prom date.

It’s a fa­therly in­tim­i­da­tion rit­ual even the young 50 Cent had to en­dure. “I have been on the other side of that, yes I have. Not quite with a garage full of guys,” he laughs, “but I’ve had that con­ver­sa­tion.”

As a fa­ther him­self, 50 Cent is glad he’s had only boys.

“It does help me out! If I had a lit­tle girl, I’d to­tally be pushed around. I don’t know whether I’m pre­pared to take on that kind of boss,” he ad­mits, laugh­ing.

Back in Den of Thieves, by the time En­son con­sid­ers bail­ing on the big job, there’s nowhere left to run.

“Even if he took a bag of money out the back of the truck, he would be run­ning from what he calls his life im­me­di­ately as he got out,” 50 Cent says. “He would be not able to go any­where near his wife, any­where near his five chil­dren, none of those things – that’s worse than a jail sen­tence.”

To prep for the film, the ac­tors were put through boot camp with an ex-mil­i­tary man who 50 Cent de­scribes as hav­ing “re­turned from the war but the war never stopped for him”.

He laugh­ingly outs Jack­son Jr for whin­ing dur­ing drills but was im­pressed with how beefy But­ler got. Not that he was at all in­tim­i­dated by the Scots­man.

“I was al­ready big. I was afraid I was go­ing to be too big, ac­tu­ally,” 50 Cent scoffs. “I was do­ing a lot of car­dio to keep my­self from look­ing like The Rock – I didn’t want to look like the only su­per­hero in the mid­dle of reg­u­lar hu­mans.”

Hav­ing fo­cused more on film and TV projects in re­cent years, 50 Cent is al­most ready to turn his fo­cus back to mu­sic.

“It’s hard to tran­si­tion into a space where peo­ple will ac­cept you cre­atively on a whole ’nother plat­form,” he says. “Now I’m com­fort­able (in film and TV), I’m ready to get back and give ’em some­thing that’ll get them ex­cited.”

The rap­per dropped a new track, Still Think I’m Noth­ing, in Novem­ber, and will play shows in Aus­tralia next month, 15 years since his star-mak­ing de­but Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

“I’m gonna shake it up when I get out there,” he prom­ises. Den of Thieves opens in ma­jor cin­e­mas to­day

Cur­tis “50 Cent” Jack­son de­scribes his char­ac­ter in new heist film Den of Thieves as be­ing “the strong si­lent type”.

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