YouTube is throwing down: The video platform has acquired worldwide rights to “Bodied,” the battle-rap satire from Eminem and noted music-video director Joseph Kahn, for the YouTube Red subscription service.
YouTube will hold an exclusive screening of “Bodied” at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday, Jan. 21. The movie then will have a theatrical release before it becomes available exclusively for streaming on YouTube Red later in 2018.
The film is directed and produced by Kahn and produced by Eminem, Def Jam Recordings CEO Paul Rosenberg, Adi Shankar and Jil Hardin. The Shady Films production is executive produced by David Kang, Justin Smith and Bob Abramoff.
“Bodied” follows Adam Merkin (Calum Worthy of “Austin & Ally” and “American Vandal”), a progressive grad student who accidentally becomes a top battle-rapper — and whose success breeds outrage.
In addition to Worthy, the film stars Jackie Long (“Idlewild,” “ATL”), Shoniqua Shondai (“Sing It!,” “The Fosters”), Walter Perez (“The Avengers,” “Fame”), Rory Uphold (“Hella”) and Anthony Michael Hall. “Bodied” also features battle rappers Dizaster, Jonathan “Dumbfoundead” Park, Hollow Da Don and media personality Charlamagne tha God. The film is written by Alex Larsen (aka Kid Twist), a former rap battler turned screenwriter.
The film premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival in September, where it won the People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award. “Bodied” also won audience awards at AFI Fest and Fantastic Fest.
In his review, Variety‘s Andrew Barker called “Bodied” a “feverishly entertaining spectacle” and wrote that “Kahn’s willingness to put every liberal piety on the Summer Jam screen proves intoxicating.” Meanwhile, IndieWire dubbed it “the most subversive movie about hip hop ever made.” The movie currently has a 95% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Joseph Kahn, Eminem, Dumbfoundead and Charlamagne tha God are represented by ICM Partners, which also negotiated the deal with YouTube on behalf of the filmmakers.
In addition to the “Bodied” screening at Sundance, YouTube will boost its presence at this year’s film fest — marking the sixth year YouTube has been the official sponsor of Sundance Film Festival Shorts program. YouTube and Google will host several events at the YouTube House (at 628 Park Ave. in Park City, Utah) from Jan. 18-21.