Since 2003, musician 50 Cent has released five studio albums and won numerous awards. But it's on screen that he's been most prolific, appearing in two dozens films. His latest, "Den of Thieves," has him pondering the good, the bad, and why he's sexier than Gerard Butler.
New York - Curtis James Jackson III walks into a room in a swanky New York hotel with a diamond sparkling in his ear and a heavy watch shining on his wrist.
The hip hop mogul known as 50 Cent is a big man. His arms have the seams of his dark brown suit almost bursting. Yet it's a delicate voice that answers questions on his life growing up as the son of a drug-dealing mother in the nearby borough of Queens, as well as those about his new film, "Den of Thieves."
dpa: The film is about a group of hard-core criminals that compete with a group of corrupt cops to pull off a bank robbery. Do you think viewers will identify with both groups?
50 Cent: I think we all possess the ability to root for bad guys at time[s] because we all have the streak of a rebel in us - the ability to go against the rules that they set in front of us.
dpa: You portray Levi Enson, an ex-military man, who reaches his limits during a heist on the Federal Reserve Bank. You are also a husband and father in the film. Is this your first role as a family man?
50 Cent: Yes, and he's flawed, obviously - he's a bank robber. The Enson character having a wife and five kids - it shows how some people are not conscious of their actions.
dpa: Why would a former member of an elite military unit turn to robbing a bank?
50 Cent: We really escape in not having a destination. Our society would say certain things are fit and certain things are unacceptable, like we decide we was gonna have chicken tonight, we didn't break the chicken's neck and actually clean the chicken and make the chicken - we just have it come in a box.
dpa: Do you prefer acting or rapping?
50 Cent: I love music. [So] I've been doing reading and the research to prepare myself for the film while doing music. I have [had] these scripts long before, fucking six years ago.
dpa: Tell us about Gerard Butler. Since his role as Leonidas in "300" he has developed a reputation of having a vigorous workout routine to prepare for roles.
50 Cent: He gained over 25 pounds (11.3 kilogrammes) for the film. He's in shape right now, when you see him, you can punch him in the stomach [punches reporter in the stomach]. But it's a different kind of in-shape. It's not the Leonidas, chopped-up in-shape, like that that's almost six hours of work a day, he was training and then he had a bodybuilder [back then].
dpa: Do you work out?
50 Cent: I do ... look, I'm sexier than him.
dpa: Would you say you are sexy in a natural kind of way?
50 Cent: I ain't got six hours a day to do this shit. I have to have a specific reason and when they pay me the check that they paid him to be in "300," I'll do it! I will fucking do it!
"Den of Thieves" hits screens this month. It is the directorial debut of Christian Gudegast, the son of German-born actor Eric Braeden. Gudegast previously turned heads as the screenwriter of 2003's "A Man Apart" and the 2016 film starring Gerard Butler "London Has Fallen."