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Rapper turned movie star hosts screening to benefit Michigan film industry

A Grand Rapids’ movie theater rolled out the red carpet Wednesday night to benefit Michigan’s burgeoning film industry. New York rapper, turned movie star Curtis Jackson, know more commonly as 50-cent, held a special premier of his new movie in Grand Rapids. Jackson signed autographs, took pictures with fans and introduced an early screening of his new movie “Gun”.

Jackson says he obviously thinks lawmakers should keep the film incentives; he’s considering buying a home in Grand Rapids.

“A lot of people in Los Angeles are just being made aware of (the film incentives) and started to move things here when the crews, 60% of the crew is from Grand Rapids. You know so it makes sense. It’s actually creating jobs in Grand Rapids.”

Jackson was discovered in 2002 by Detroit rapper Marshal Mathers, known commonly as Emimen. But its Grand Rapids that 50-cent is falling in love with. His new action thriller “Gun” is one of 4 films he’s worked on in town. “I love Grand Rapids,” Jackson said, “it’s quiet enough to be able to get my work done.” The city is easily recognizable in the movie trailer.

$5,000 dollars from the ticket sales goes straight to the West Michigan Film Office. It’s a non-profit that recruits films to the area. Rick Hert is the commissioner of the WMFO. He helped connect producers of the film to all of the locations, people and things they need. “The money raised tonight will go to perhaps some trips to L.A.,” Hert said, “We have location scouts so they come in and we have to rent cars, buy them meals show them around.”

Hert says his office has recruited over $61 million worth in new film projects to west Michigan this year. He says they’ve filled 25,000 hotel rooms nights.

“The best part for me is - crew members. They’re coming home. They say I can now work in my own state; I’m coming home to Grand Rapids.”

“Gun” comes to theaters next month.

Jackson stopped by on his lunch break. He’s in the middle of shooting another film with Bruce Willis and Ryan Philippe in Grand Rapids.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station'sAmplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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