Detroit rapper and mogul Eminem is known for being a passionate emcee and skilful lyricist. However, he has had a few acting stints. Although many rap artists such as Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent have successfully transitioned from rapper to actor, Eminem has never fully committed himself to become a thespian. It doesn’t seem like he will be doing so anytime soon, either.
Although in 2002, following the release of his diamond-certified project The Eminem Show, the musician (real name Marshall Mathers) did produce and feature in the critically acclaimed film 8 Mile, the rapper has made very few Hollywood appearances since. However, Mathers was offered quite a few roles in the movie industry before deciding to devote himself exclusively to music.
In 2008, while Mathers was navigating the dark depths of his relapse, the lyricist was offered a role in the sci-fi motion picture Jumper. During this period, Mathers was confused, doubting his musical abilities and struggling creatively. However, the film’s director, Doug Liman, revealed at the time that Eminem had shown interest in playing the lead role of David Rice. The mid-2000s film had a weak plot and sought to tell the story of a couple who could teleport. However, although Mathers had considered the role, his hesitance ended up stalling the film’s production, leading to Eminem’s offer being retracted and instead given to Star Wars actor Hayden Christensen, who happily snatched up the role.
Eminem’s hesitance is understandable as, in 2002, he had expressed how he disagreed with his hip-hop counterpart Ice Cube who told him that remembering lines and acting is the equivalent of recalling lyrics and performing.
Appearing on Rapfix Live following the release of 8 Mile, Eminem explained to the interviewer, “It’s a whole different thing because you may be used to performing to the camera, and you may be used to doing certain things and videos and things like that, but it’s a whole different ball game when the music is off, and you have lines that you need to say, and you have things that you need to remember like the lines. Plus, remembering and trying to be natural and ‘What am I going to do when I say this line?’ and ‘How can I?’ It’s different.”
The late noughties were a struggle for Mathers musically and personally. He admitted this in a 2018 interview with Sway Calloway. Speaking on his 2009 album Relapse, Mathers unveiled that when he listened back to it years later, he cringed at his delivery and lyrics. However, Mathers is glad he turned down the part and has since told his fans he enjoys small parts here and there. The Detroit emcee has had cameos in films like Funny People, The Interview and even 50 Cent’s Black Mafia Family (BMF). You can watch the trailer for Jumper in the video below to see the film Eminem nearly starred in.