Eminem and Rihanna shattered Youtube records last Thursday (Aug. 5) for the most views in a 24-hour period with their visual ride for “Love The Way You Lie,” bringing in over 6.6 million hits on the first day of its release.
Directed by Joseph Kahn, who has worked with Marshall on three previous projects and crafted videos for the likes of Elton John, Janet Jackson, and U2, “Love The Way You Lie” also stars actors Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan. With the song’s real-life connection to both Em and RiRi, the video has sparked some debate over it’s depiction of domestic violence and casting of Hollywood eye-candy. However, Kahn says it was his idea to bring in the starring thespians.
“I initially thought it was a long shot to try and cast Megan Fox for the lead role," Kahn admits to VIBE from his home in Los Angeles. "Seriously, before every video you think to yourself 'let’s cast a girl like Megan Fox.' I think ninety-five percent of treatments say that. [laughs].
Fox accepted the role with out hesitation on the account of her being a huge Eminem fan. Shocked by the ease of pulling such an in-demand starlet, Joseph used the opportunity to create his own story rather than base the characters on the artists.
“We wanted to make a specific story about two people—Meg and Dom—not a video that was representative of all couples or all domestic violence situations. I’m not saying that all couples fight this way,” Kahn explained. “I just want people just to be able to identify with the characters and recognize that they’ve seen relationships like this where two people are together that are completely wrong for each other and things spiral out of control.”
Filming this latest single off Em’s Recovery LP was the opportunity Kahn had been waiting for—the chance to work with Marshall on a video that was void of the comedic elements that flooded of their past projects.
“I actually wasn’t taking on any new videos but Interscope called me one night and told me who it was—there was no way I was saying no. Paul Rosenberg called me one night saying he needed a concept by the morning. I had like three hours, and I wrote the treatment in 45 minutes.” Kahn continued. “I think his camp was wondering if I could even pull off something this serious and to be honest I’ve been asking them for this shot for the longest.”
Kahn managed shoot both Eminem and Rihanna’s part in one day before going back and completing the video with Fox and Monaghan. The director also told VIBE he doesn’t think the video would have made as big of an impact without Megan’s performance.
“Megan was the key to this video. I feel like people constantly pick on her because she’s so beautiful but I’ll tell you as a director the reason why their scenes in the video feel so real is because in the moment they were real. When the camera stopped you could see their bodies still shivering and their breath,” Kahn says. “The scene where Dom smashes through the wall, Megan keeps her face there and reacts to the camera, instead of turning away from his fist, which would be the natural reaction but the audience would get denied her facial expressions. It was an incredible act of vulnerability and allowed the audience into the moment. That’s the difference between and actress and movie star.” —Mikey Fresh