For fans of the mysterious, publicity-shy Dr Dre, it is a revealing portrait. For those who like a well-made documentary, it is masterfully filmed and edited with rapid-cut shots and inventive techniques.
What did you learn about Dre that surprised you? No matter how close you are to Dre, he slips through your fingers. I like that mystique. I spent a lot more time with Dre than Jimmy. Dre opened up through the episodes, which seemed to reflect in the style of how he was shot. Did that mirror the relationship between the two of you as filming progressed? For Dre, iconography is critical: I was always very mindful and cognisant of that with Dre.
I learned that from Eazy-E, my first mentor, who Dre introduced me to when I was He always had this mystique. When I got to know him, I learned you have to tease your audience. In a great record, too. Seduction has to do with teasing and then the payoff comes. What surprised you about Jimmy? We had no idea. All of it was a revelation to me and I think that's probably what keeps the movie alive. Eminem talks about Jimmy being a levitator. How much of a challenge was it to achieve objectivity in profiling people you knew already?
Did you have the stylistic approach in mind when you set out on the project? I had a third of it in my head and then two thirds of the style came from the discovery process. The thing that makes hip-hop unique is that it swallows up everything. Once I got the style, there was all these little motifs and techniques. FilmMagic How was the process of making the series? Did you get any sleep for three and a half years? It almost killed me. I went through a severe depression.
There were periods where I was buzzing and periods when I was deeply depressed. It was like cutting diamonds, 'cos I had them both. Right when I had one dealt with and put to bed, the other one was popping up and fing with me. I realised I had some bad habits. They were suffering my foolishness a lot. Your late friends Eazy-E and Tupac are important characters in the series.
How was that experience? That was the other thing that felt existential. Something was going on that felt like life or death to me.
When I was down, I realised: At one point, Tupac had taken over the movie. First, find out what makes that person comfortable. And everyone is susceptible if you find them funny, even rock stars like Bruce Springsteen.
My number one weapon was laughter. No matter how big they are, if you laugh at the appropriate times, they get into rare form. You want people to connect to the characters, then it makes the incident that much more devastating. I just felt bad. In Defiant Ones part three, you see where things were starting to get off the rails. That was my cross to bear. Even when Eminem was at his most raunchy there was a Lenny Bruce quality.
He was winking the whole time. Allen Hughes and Dr Dre Credit: Netflix What footage was the hardest to track down? Did you have a free-for-all into the Interscope archives? It was only supposed to take a year but with more time, I could find s that no one had ever seen. The footage of NWA in the recording studio came with time.
No one has ever heard that Marvin Gaye multi-track. That was Dre hearing the isolated stems. I was trying to find those iconic moments, and then the moment before the moment. Looking back, was that fair? My mom and a good friend said, were you nominated? Can you imagine that now with movies like Moonlight? It was a different time to be black. Was it gratifying to see Black Panther make a billion at the box office?