Mekhi Phifer Has 'Nothing But Love' for '8 Mile' Co-Star Eminem (Exclusive)

It was the performance that took us all by surprise — in the most pleasant of ways, of course. Eminem dropped jaws at the 2019 Oscars when he showed up nearly 20 years after winning an Academy Award for his hit song, "Lose Yourself," featured in 8 Mile. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, co-star Mekhi Phifer said he was glad to finally see him perform the award-winning song after not initially accepting the prestigious honor.

"It's nice that he finally showed up," Phifer joked in our series, PopCulture @ Home. "You know, maybe he walked from Detroit — and then showed up 20 years later, but I'm glad that he's doing okay." When the ER actor was asked if the two still keep in touch, he said they do so regularly.

"You know, it's so funny; I just spoke to him about six days ago. He's great, yeah, he's great," Phifer said of the rapper. "We're looking forward to seeing each other when he comes to Los Angeles or if I get to Detroit, which is probably not right now, but he's one of us. He's doing great, man."

Like many musicians, Eminem is currently tuning up new music for fans. "And he's still in the studio — still making those hit songs and sounds great. He sounds like he's doing wonderful, so I got nothing but love for him."

8 Mile released Nov. 8, 2002, and was a huge success. Written by Scott Silver and directed by Curtis Hanson, the film brought Eminem to a new level of fame after his starring role. While it was one of Phifer's major films, he has since found incredible success but says all of it is a lesson, humbly stating he still has more to learn. "It's an absolute lesson, you know, but the funny thing is the learning never stops. So as much as I've achieved, there's much more to achieve."

He continued: "I've definitely been blessed to be a part of some great productions, meeting some great people, working with some great people, great directors, great producers, great writers — but to this day, I'm still very intrigued by the things that I get to do. So I keep striving for the best."

Not only is Phifer working on new shows, but he's also working to educate communities across the United States about how much teachers really do for their students. Alongside Nutri-Grain, Phifer, who comes from a family of teachers, is looking to support our educators in such a time of need. "Part of the reason why Nutri-Grain is such a great brand and donating $1 million bars is because of these trying times, people are hurting," he said, noting it was important to him to hop on board of the mission.

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Teachers across the United States end up spending a huge portion of their paychecks just to provide classroom supplies and decorations, and 60 percent said that they spend at least $300 on snacks alone. "My mother being a school teacher that she was, she wasn't just a school teacher. She was also a dancer and choreographer. She really was an asset to the community. She taught for free, not only tutoring, but she also taught dancing for free in my neighborhood." He further added that his mother aided in helping keep kids off the streets by providing them a safe, productive outlet that "really allowed them to grow and to be better."

Phifer ended with, "[...] I love what Nutri-Grain is doing and they're really supportive." For more on Phifer and your other favorite celebrities, keep it right here at PopCulture.com.