How to take a bullet 50 Cent-style

Note to action movie directors: you probably don't need to tell Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson - juvenile crack dealer turned multi-millionaire rapper and movie star - how to take a bullet.

It was a liberty first-time film-maker Christian Gudegast felt comfortable taking, however, during the filming of Jackson's latest movie, gritty heist thriller Den Of Thieves, which opens here tomorrow.

"There's a point where I get shot in the film, and I did it and Christian was like, 'No, you didn't do that the right way," Jackson recalled. "I was like, 'Trust me, I know what I'm doing.'"

Jackson, raised on the mean streets of Queens by his grandmother after his drug dealer mother's death in a mystery fire, knows all about how it feels to get shot, of course.

On a May evening 18 years ago, he was hit nine times at close range by a drive-by gunman wielding a semi-automatic pistol in the South Jamaica area of Queens.

Shot in the hand, arm, legs, chest, hip and cheek, he eventually made an unlikely full recovery while the alleged assailant was killed three weeks later.

"After I got shot nine times at close range and didn't die, I started to think that I must have a purpose in life," Jackson later reflected in his autobiography.

Empowered and newly motivated, he left his criminal past behind, started pumping iron seriously and became the health-conscious, entertainment tycoon we know today. Most famous for hit hip hop tracks In Da Club and Candy Shop, the soft-spoken Jackson has become as much a worldwide brand as an actor and musician.

Den Of Thieves, his 24th movie, follows the intersecting lives of the major crimes unit of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and the Outlaws, an elite band of robbers.

The 42-year-old gives a laconic, brooding performance as a disciplined father-of-five who has managed to demarcate his family life and criminal career as the Outlaws' second-in-command.

In real life, Jackson has been frank about his complicated family situation, reportedly paying US$12,000 (S$15,700) a month in child support for his two younger children.

He is estranged from his older son Marquise, publicly disowning him via an Instagram post in October last year, and the pair have sparred on social media.

Estimated in 2015 to be worth US$155 million, he filed for bankruptcy, telling a court his flashy lifestyle was a facade, with his expensive jewellery and cars rented.- AFP