Last night 50 Cent screened his movie Things Fall Apart before a New York audience, at an event sponsored by VIBE and Hot 97. A supportive crowd, which included contest winners, fellow New York based rappers such as Jim Jones, Maino, Uncle Murder and more, crowded into the AMC Loews at Lincoln Square and applauded the movie’s dramatic end.
The film follows the life of a college football star (50 Cent’s character Deon) who falls victim to cancer at the peak of his career. Along the course of his struggle for recovery, his illness depletes his family’s finances and strains relations. “The story was inspired by a childhood friend named Charles Pringle” 50 told Vibe after the screening. He became a lawyer and never actually played sports in college. But I didn’t want to make this film about his life but after he died of cancer, he inspired me to make the film.”
In real life, 50 dropped 54 lbs. to play a cancer patient. His eyes, which sink deep into head, help sell his story on screen. “For him to lose his weight and maintain his composure and still go out there and perform, was truly amazing,” said Floyd Mayweather, Jr., who was also in attendance. “The character he portrayed was something we would see in everyday life. Instead of a movie where someone is selling 300 kis and not getting caught or shooting a bunch of guns and not going to jail, this is something everybody could relate to.”
The movie was directed by Mario Van Peebles, who also plays the overbearing stepfather, while Lynn Whitfield plays the doting mother. Ray Liotta pays the role of the doctor who delivers the bad news. But the film had as many light moments as dark contemplative scenes. One sly and surprise reference to Rick Ross—“Stop acting like Officer Ricky”—filled the theater with howls of laughter. “You know I wrote the screenplay when you hear that,” he said. “Tonight it was interesting because there were certain moments that were funny for me writing it and when you see it with an audience, people start laughing a beat later.”
To be sure, there are many moist-eyed scenes, in which a droopy-faced 50 Cent drops tears on command. “I drew upon my life’s experiences and on his life,” 50 said. “In real life, I went into the lifestyle that was the wrong way and he did everything that was supposed to be the right way. So in the scene where I sit on the bed and say, ‘I don’t know why this is happening, I never did anything,’ it hits me harder because I did everything he didn’t do. That’s something he said to me in real life.”
Listen to VIBE’s full interview with 50 below:
PART ONE: 50 discusses the inspiration behind Things Fall Apart
PART TWO: 50 discusses how he was able to cry on cue