The world has gotten plenty of glimpses at the troubled relationship between Eminem and his two-time ex-wife, Kim. But in the new video for "Love the Way You Lie," the angst-filled rapper takes on domestic violence, a topic collaborator Rihanna is no stranger to.
While filming the clip with director Joseph Kahn (Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani), "Lost" actor Dominic Monaghan said he suffered some bumps and bruises in order to get the serious message across.
"I think we tried as hard as we could to not glorify the violence, to try and explain that this was a relationship that is by no means ideal and a relationship that probably should have ended a lot sooner than it did," Monaghan told MTV News. "The concept of 'Love the Way You Lie' was essentially a look at the relationship that Eminem was in with his wife, Kim, so I kind of felt like I was playing Eminem a little bit, and Megan Fox was kind of playing Kim," he said of his kissing co-star in the clip, which premieres Thursday night (August 5) at 9 p.m. ET/PT on MTV, hot on the heel of Em's eight VMA nominations.
"It's the story of them getting to know each other, and it's the story of their tumultuous relationship, and it was the story of the breakdown of their relationship," Monaghan added. "Ultimately, what I think he's trying to say in the song ... is that he should have walked away a little bit quicker than he did and not let it get as messy as it did."
Trying to get into Eminem's mind-set in scenes such as the one in which he confronts a man who is talking to Fox's character, Monaghan said he led with anger. "All his motivation, every forward step that he takes is based on his anger," he said of the character. "We're supposed to be desperately in love, like Bonnie and Clyde style, like Sid and Nancy, John and Yoko ... Eminem and Kim."
The video has a number of scenes of domestic violence, in which the couple get physical with each other, and Monaghan said he didn't escape without drawing a bit of blood. "I get to throw Megan around quite a lot ... throw her up against the wall and then she throws me up against a wall and smacks me in the face and spits in my face ... and I chase her around the house and smash windows and walls."
Monaghan said he injured his knee as well as his hand during the shoot, the latter when he punched a mirror and the former when he braced his left knee on the floor while punching his video rival more than 50 times. While the video throws a spotlight on the dangers of an abusive relationship with the help of two glitzy Hollywood stars, Monaghan said the message about the destructive, ugly nature of domestic violence is front and center.
"There's nothing sexy or cool or fun about being in a violent relationship," he said. "Whether it's her being violent to you or you being violent to her ... violence both ways or any kind of destructive relationship is something you should probably get out of."
One of the messages of the video is that Eminem probably should have bailed on his relationship earlier than he did, Monaghan said, and the challenge of the clip was taking a serous subject and making it into a good video that helps sell the song. "A good video can still have a message of caution in it," he said.
Rihanna — whose very public assault at the hands of then-boyfriend Chris Brown made the topic especially sensitive for her — recently told "Access Hollywood" that the song was something she "needed" to do.
"It's something that, you know, [Eminem and I have] both experienced, you know, on different sides, different ends of the table," she said. "It just was authentic. It was real. It was believable for us to do a record like that, but it was also something that needed to be done, and the way he did it was so clever. He pretty much just broke down the cycle of domestic violence, and it's something that a lot of people don't have a lot of insight on, so this song is a really, really powerful song, and it touches a lot of people."
Don't forget to tune in to MTV tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT for the premiere of Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie," and check MTVNews.com for full coverage of the clip.