The tip sheet was relatively short for the premiere of HBO’s “The Defiant Ones” at Los Angeles’ Paramount Studios on Thursday night (June 22), but befitting a fete honoring Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine — and the four-part documentary about their lives directed by Allen Hughes — it had power. Among the rap and rock royalty in attendance: Kendrick Lamar, Trent Reznor, Puff Daddy, Pharrell Williams, Jared Leto, and, in a rare appearance, Eminem, who avoided the red carpet, and, wearing a cap and sporting ginger-brown hair and beard, took a seat in the Paramount Theatre behind his longtime collaborator Dr. Dre.
Also making the scene was Interscope Geffen A&M chairman John Janick and Apple’s Robert Kondrck, the latter curiously wearing a Capitol Records T-shirt. (DJ Khaled appeared to have missed the festivities because social media duties beckoned — fair enough since his new album, Grateful, was officially released at midnight.)
The story of the Dre, trailblazing rapper, and Iovine, the music man-turned-executive, both moguls in their own right today, is told primarily through those artists (Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, Bono, and Snoop Dogg are just a few of those featured in the series) and colleagues with whom they worked — Iovine, starting as an engineer in New York City, which segued into studio sessions and production credits with Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen; and Dre as a fledgling DJ and rapper, who made history with L.A.’s own N.W.A.
Peppered with archival footage, the series offers an engaging and well-paced narrative, that, while starting out telling individual stories 20 years apart, coalesces into a business bromance the likes of which is rarely seen these days.
“The dynamic of their relationship is kind of inexplicable that’s what I wanted to explore,” said Hughes.
Iovine himself had a hard time explaining it, even after viewing hours upon hours of interview footage (35 terabytes-worth of data in total, according to executive producer Doug Pray). “I can’t put my finger on it,” said Iovine, who attended the event with wife Liberty Ross. “Our relationship is just really cool. This is a good movie about friendship and overcoming extraordinary things.”
It was a sentiment echoed by HBO chairman Richard Plepler, who introduced the premiere episode as “the story of artistic genius.” Asked if there was any consideration at HBO to making the series longer or shorter, Plepler told Variety, “We always said, ‘Tell the story in the time it takes to tell the story and we’ll give you the real estate to do that.’ This is HBO at its best — as a celebration of artists.”
(Pictured above: Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine, HBO chairman/CEO Richard Plepler and Allen Hughes)
|HBO CEO Richard Plepler with Allen Hughes and Dr Dre at the after-party of “The Defiant Ones.” Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock/span>|