Marshall Mathers, AKA Eminem, turned 47 years old on Thursday, October 17th, and he received a surprise tweet from his biggest fan to celebrate. Actor Devon Sawa – who played the original Stan in the music video for the popular song of the same name – wished Eminem a happy birthday with a fun, retro message 19 years after making the video.
“Happy birthday @Eminem. Sincerely yours, Stan, Ps. We should be together, too, ” tweeted Sawa.
In case you aren’t familiar with the origin of the popular term “Stan” – which is slang for an obsessive fan – it comes from Eminem’s 2000 song that featured British singer Dido. It tells the story of Stanley “Stan” Mitchell (voiced by Eminem) who constantly writes Slim Shady and tells the rapper he is his biggest fan.
Over the course of three verses, Stan becomes more and more obsessed with Eminem and angered that he hasn’t received a reply. By the third verse, Stan has his pregnant girlfriend tied up in the trunk of his car and he is recording a final message to Eminem. When he drives the car into the river, he realizes at the last second that he has no way of sending the tape to the rapper.
The last verse of the song is Eminem (as himself) writing Stan and explaining why it took him so long to reply. And, while writing his letter Eminem realizes he heard about Stan and his girlfriend’s’ death on the news.
The Dr. Dre-directed video was incredibly popular because not only was it a great song, but it was such an interesting take on celebrity worship and obsession. It was so influential, that over the course of the next two decades the term “Stan” became synonymous with toxic, obsessed fans, and it was even added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary both as a noun and a verb.
“Stan culture is fan culture and it all comes down to loving music – not a bad thing in itself,” writes El Hunt in a recent NME article. “But when super-fans turn nasty, especially when armed with the anonymity of a keyboard, things can quickly turn toxic.”
Happy birthday @Eminem.
Sincerely yours, Stan,
Ps. We should be together, too.
— devon sawa (@DevonESawa) October 17, 2019
In an ironic twist, Sawa’s latest project is a movie called The Fanatic, which he stars in with John Travolta. In the film – which is currently available for streaming on YouTube and Amazon Prime – Sawa plays actor Hunter Dunbar who is stalked by Travolta’s character, Moose.
Limp Bizkit vocalist Fred Durst directed the film, but it has received terrible reviews from both fans and critics.