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Director David Dobkin On Jimmy Iovine Reacting To Thug Life Tattoo

Director David Dobkin talks with MovieMaker about one of his first directorial jobs, Tupac’s “I Get Around” music video. David goes on to detail Interscope’s boss Jimmy Iovine’s reaction to Tupac’s iconic Thug Life tattoo.


Born in Washington, D.C., David Dobkin directed some of the most well-known movies. He has the accolade of being handpicked by Jackie Chan to direct Shanghai Knights, which starred Owen Wilson. In addition, in 2003, again working with Wilson, Dobkin also took charge of the comedy Wedding Crashers.

His latest, comedy titled Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, follows the journey of two singers chasing their pop star dreams at a global music competition. Starring Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams and Demi Lovato, the movie went live on Netflix in late June.

However, before all of this success, David Dobkin moved to Los Angeles to pursue a directing career, certainly not knowing what to expect. One of the first jobs he landed was directing a music video for emerging Hip Hop artist Tupac Shakur. That music video was the 1993 song “I Get Around” from Tupac’s second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. Recorded for Interscope Records, it also features Shock G and Money B from Digital Underground.

The “I Get Around” video shoot was the topic on a recent MovieMaker Interview podcast. While on there, David Dobkin talks about noticing Tupac’s Thug Life tattoo for the first time. Encouraging Tupac to show it off on-camera, he reveals Jimmy Iovine’s initial reaction, consequently, even threatening to axe the video.

“Jimmy hasn’t seen any of those tattoos yet so he called me at home and said ‘You ruined the video! We’re throwing the video out!’. He had found a pocket that they believed was unique and special for him, and that portrayal of him as a gangster would ruin his momentum in that space,” Dobkin said.

He added: “I interviewed Jimmy a couple of years ago and I said, you know you gave me my first job. And then you called me and cursed me because you thought I ruined it and then Tupac threatened to leave the label and then you released it and then it went platinum. He’s like, ‘Oh. I remember some of that.”

Also Read: Lil Wayne Helped To Connect Eminem With Kid Cudi

It should be noted that Dobkin can turn his hand to either movies or music videos, as a result, he emphasizes the skills gained from working with artists, especially Tupac. He said; “Music videos let me try out things and explore things that I now use in practically all my film making. The biggest mistake is not to experiment.”


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