"Curtis Hanson believed in me and our crazy idea to make a rap battle movie set in Detroit," the 43-year-old rapper said in a statement to Billboard. "He basically made me into an actor for 8 Mile. I'm lucky I got to know him."
Eminem starred in the semi-autobiographical drama alongside Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy and Taryn Manning. He also wrote the hit song "Lose Yourself" for the film, which went on earn him an Oscar for Best Original Song.
Hanson, who died at his home in the Hollywood Hills on Tuesday at the age of 71, may have been best known for writing and directing the neo-noir crime thriller L.A. Confidential, for which he nabbed an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and two additional nominations.
The celebrated cop drama starred Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce, who received rave reviews for their nuanced and dynamic performances. Both actors took to Twitter after news of Hanson's death broke to share emotional tributes.
"So sad to lose Curtis Hanson," Pearce, 48, wrote alongside of black and white snapshot of him and the late director on the L.A. Confidential set. "No one taught me as much about film acting as this man. A father figure and mentor. I will miss you my friend"
So sad to lose Curtis Hanson. No one taught me as much about film acting as this man. A father figure and mentor. I will miss you my friend pic.twitter.com/RLIl7OedqW— Guy Pearce (@TheGuyPearce) September 21, 2016
"RIP Curtis Hansen . Thank you for believing in me & standing your ground," Crowe, 52, tweeted. "In reality you made my job a career. Love & respect my friend."
RIP Curtis Hansen . Thank you for believing in me & standing your ground. In reality you made my job a career. Love & respect my friend.— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) September 21, 2016
Kevin Bacon, who starred in Hanson's 1994 thriller A River Wild, also shared his memories of the beloved filmmaker, tweeting, "So sad to hear about Curtis Hanson. great director. great man. Riding that river with him was one of the greatest gigs of my life."
So sad to hear about Curtis Hanson. great director. great man. Riding that river with him was one of the greatest gigs of my life— Kevin Bacon (@kevinbacon) September 21, 2016