Author Chinua Achebe Clashes with 50 Cent Over Miami Dolphins Film, Things Fall Apart
We're dismayed to learn that rapper-cum-actor 50 Cent is not up on his modern African literature. We had to read Chinua Achebe's 1958 novel Things Fall Apart in high school English. But it appears Fiddy did not, because he titled his new film with the same phrase.
Achebe's Nigerian tale, which follows a man named Okonkwo and a boy Ikemefuna, has sold more than eight million copies. That literary bastion known as Time Magazine named the novel in its 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.
Meanwhile Fifty's film, which premiered last spring at the Miami International Film Festival, is about a rising football star who is stricken with cancer and undergoes chemotherapy instead of getting drafted by the Miami Dolphins. Sounds like a heartwrenching story and all, but the Nigerian author is none too pleased.
The author feels strongly about the phrase things fall apart, which he
took from William Butler Yeats's poem "The Second Coming." In the novel,
the phrase refers to the downfall of a tribal village when Christian
missionaries arrive on the scene. Things not only start falling apart
for the villagers, but the missionary's arrival ultimately results in
(spoiler alert) the hero's tragic death.
According to the Guardian, Achebe recently unleashed his legal team on
the rapper, asking for a name change for the film. In response, 50 tried
throwing a bag of cash -- namely one million dollars -- at the
80-year-old Achebe in the hopes of keeping the title. After all the rapper is so commited to the project (which is based on the true story of one of 50's close friends) that he lost a staggering 54 pounds for the role.
In the end, the Nigerian novelist was not persuaded by the wad of greenbacks and was
instead insulted. His legal team's response was "The novel with the
said title was initially produced in 1958 (that is 17 years before 
was born). ...[It is] listed as the most-read book in modern African
literature, and won't be sold for even £1bn." It's nice to hear that someone actually considers a literary motif priceless.
So what's 50 Cent to do? Simple enough, he just expanded his film's title to All Things Falls Apart (but hopefully not this film).
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