General News : Eminem was almost the star of a film inspired by the Grand Theft Auto video game franchise, according to an industry veteran close to Rockstar Games. Kirk Ewing, who is friends with GTA creators Sam and Dan Houser, recalled the story on U.K. rapper Bugzy Malone’s Grandest Game podcast.
Following the release of GTA III, Ewing says a Hollywood agent pitched him the idea. Eminem was fresh off the release of his blockbuster 2000 album The Marshall Mathers LP.
He says the agent offered the Houser brothers $5 million for the rights to make the film. Top Gun director Tony Scott would’ve helmed the project with Eminem starring. Sam Houser, however, turned down the deal.
“[The agent] said: ‘Kirk, we’ve got Eminem to star, and it’s a Tony Scott film. $5 million on the nose. Are you interested?’” Ewing recalled. “And I phoned up Sam and I said: ‘Listen to this. They want Eminem in the Grand Theft Auto movie and Tony Scott to direct.’”
He continued: “And he said: ‘Not interested’ … They realized that the media franchise that they had was bigger than any movie that was going on at the time.”
Eminem ended up making his debut on the big screen debut in 2002 with 8 Mile. The film notched Eminem an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Years later, Eminem’s longtime collaborator, Dr. Dre, starred in The Contract, an update for Grand Theft Auto: Online. He also contributed music for the update to the game. Anderson .Paak, DJ Pooh, and Jimmy Iovine also made appearances.