Eminem is one of the most successful rappers of all time and has sold an unfathomable amount of music in his 25-year career. However, there is one story of dismissal and rejection that is not often told about Eminem. The tale concerns how, in 2001, a film proposal that featured Eminem was shut down and rejected.
Following the release of his Marshall Mathers LP in 2000, Eminem was in high demand for all sorts of endorsements and brand deals. However, he was also considered to star in a movie. Speaking to the BBC, Rockstar Games veteran, Kirk Ewing, explained how in 2001, after the release of Grand Theft Auto III (GTA), the company was considering partnering up with an LA film studio to produce a GTA film.
Explaining the situation, Ewing recalled how Rockstar Games founders Sam and Dan Houser were approached by an LA film agent who offered them $5 million dollars for their permission to make a film using the name and likeness of the game franchise Grand Theft Auto.
The LA film agent explained to them that the film would be directed by Top Gun director Tony Scott and would see Eminem take the lead role. However, Ewing explained how, at the time, Sam Houser told the agent they were “not interested” in collaborating with anybody for a Grand Theft Auto film.
Continuing, Ewing said that Houser was actually considering but was incredibly torn and indecisive, as he disclosed, “I think at that point it was still in Sam’s mind that it might be something that he wanted to do.” Ewing revealed that not too long after the first offer, he got a call at four o’clock in the morning, from another studio that pitched the same idea but for more money saying, “Kirk, we’ve got Eminem to star, and it’s a Tony Scott film – $8 million on the nose. Are you interested?”.
However, even after the $3 million increase, Ewing revealed that due to indecisiveness, Houser again responded with a “not interested”. Ewing revealed that the Houser brothers were businessmen, and regardless of how famous Eminem was, “They knew that the media franchise that they had was bigger than any movie that was going on at the time.”
Since then, Grand Theft Auto has grown to become a gaming phenomenon and, in 2018, was declared the most profitable entertainment product of all time. That includes record-breaking movies like Avatar. Although Eminem was never featured in a GTA movie, he still had the opportunity of working with the brand and was featured in the game alongside Dr Dre on the track ‘Gospel’ which was recorded for a 2021 Grand Theft Auto Online expansion pack. You can listen below.