The music video for Eminem’s 2000 smash hit Stan was just as groundbreaking as the song itself. British singer Dido and American rapper Devon Sawa starred in a music video with an eight-minute plot about a fan who becomes infatuated with Slim Shady because he believes he is the only person who can truly understand him.
It pushed the boundaries of what could be considered a music video and what might be considered a short film, and the song went on to become one of Eminem’s most recognized. Was the Stan from the song fictional, and did he really meet his end the way it did?
The context for “Stan” and Slim Shady
In 2000, with the release of the Slim Shady LP, Eminem revealed his alter ego, commonly referred to as his split personality, and his subsequent song, The Real Slim Shady, further expanded his cult of personality. Eminem’s bad side, personified by Slim Shady, is something he constantly fights.
Slim Shady’s songs feature explicit or graphic material, such as tales of rape and murder. The song Kim, for instance, is about Slim getting into a violent quarrel with his wife and killing her by cutting her throat, although this is not based on anything that actually happened in Eminem’s life.
Later, he produced a song called ’97 Bonnie & Clyde’, in which he sang about taking his little daughter with him as he drove to dispose of the body of his wife.
Although Eminem and his ex-wife are no longer together, Hailie’s mother is reportedly well and happy. For Eminem, the persona of Slim Shady allowed him to explore more sinister ideas and put them to use in his songs.
The rapper, however, always depicted Slim Shady as an adversary. His alter persona is depicted struggling with drug addiction, mental illness, and even drug overdose in a few of his songs.
A mischievous streak drives Slim Shady to impersonate priests, streak through public areas, and annoy people; he is proven to have come from an abusive home. When I’m Gone is a later tune in which Eminem confronts Slim Shady and executes him for his sins.
Despite Eminem’s best efforts, some of his followers never seemed to get the message that he was making it obvious that Slim Shady was not someone to admire.
As time went on after the introduction of the alter identity, the rapper had numerous unpleasant fan experiences that made him fear that people thought he was truly Slim Shady, or even worse, that his “evil side” was a role model. From this inspiration, the name “Stan” was developed.
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Who is featured in the Stan music video?
The tale is taken somewhat literally in the video, which Dr. Dre and Philip Atwell directed. Singer Dido plays Stan’s pregnant girlfriend in the video, while Devon Sawa plays him. In the prologue, we see Stan get upset when his lover insists on calling him “Stanley,” so he dyes his hair blonde and storms off.
Later, he sits among posters of Eminem in a basement and writes messages in which he declares himself to be “your (Eminem’s) biggest fan.” His letters and phone calls to Eminem go unanswered because of unforeseen delays.
Thinking no one is paying attention to him, Stan drives down a rainy highway with his girlfriend trapped in the trunk and records the experience on video. They were driving across the bridge when their car crashed through the barrier, killing Stan and his girlfriend.
Eminem apologizes for the delay, praises Stan for being a fan, and shows genuine interest in his life outside of music. Eminem expresses concern about Stan’s sanity, saying that he does not want Stan’s life to end like a recent news story he saw about a man who drove drunk over a bridge with his fiancée in the trunk.
When he finally figures out it was Stan, he delivers the immortal line: “You were the one responsible for it. Damn.”
From Three Viewpoints, a Song
The opening of “Stan” has a worried fan penning an open letter to Eminem. He expresses his undying affection for his music while also offering pointed criticism of the themes explored in certain tracks.
The song “Drug Ballad,” which encourages its listeners to resist drug temptation, has been singled out for particular criticism. The song “Amityville,” about the destruction of Eminem’s home, is another option.
The supporter expresses a desire to shake hands with Slim Shady should they ever meet in person. But he also tells the rapper to stay away from him at all costs since he’s afraid the latter would try to steal his girlfriend. The song then shifts to Stan’s perspective as he watches a murder unfold.
In this scene, Stan forcibly abducts his pregnant girlfriend from her parents’ house. Before she is transported away, her parents say sorry for not realizing how much they loved her. Her boyfriend subsequently kills her in their home.
In the last moments of “Stan,” Eminem responds to yet another letter from a rabid supporter. To his knowledge, this is the only letter he has ever received written from a third party’s perspective.