Eminem ‘Turned Down For GTA Movie’ By Rockstar Games

Rockstar Games rejected the opportunity to launch a Grand Theft Auto movie starring Eminem, a new podcast has revealed.
Credit: Alamy & Rockstar Games

Rockstar Games turned down the chance to collaborate with Eminem on a Grand Theft Auto movie.

Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, is one of the most successful rappers the world has ever seen.

The 50-year-old has sold more than 220 million albums worldwide and has 50 platinum album certifications.

As well as being one of the greatest rap artists of all time, he has also been widely recognised for his acting talents.

Watch as Eminem takes a knee for social justice at the Super Bowl…

In 2002, Eminem starred in the critically acclaimed 8 Mile, a film loosely based on his early years in the Detroit rap game.

In 2003, he won an Oscar in the ‘Best Original Song’ category for his track, ‘Lose Yourself’, which featured in the film.

Now, it has been revealed that he almost starred in another big movie.

Video game creator and agent Kirk Ewing – a personal friend of GTA creators Sam and Dan Houser – said that a Hollywood producer once approached him proposing a multi-million dollar deal.

The brothers were apparently offered $5 million for the rights to a movie starring Eminem, which would have been orchestrated by Top Gun director Tony Scott.

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Ewing, whose 2002 beat ’em up game State of Emergency was also released by Rockstar, says the Houser brothers had been interested in making a film on the back of GTA III‘s success.

The game, released on Playstation 2, was the best-selling game of 2001.

That same year, the ‘Without Me’ rapper was at the height of his fame following the release of his 11-time platinum record, ‘Marshall Mathers LP’.

He had also just finished filming for his starring role in 8 Mile.

Kirk was seemingly well placed to try and make a GTA movie happen, and says he explored whether a Hollywood tie-in could actually come to fruition.

Eminem in 8 Mile.
Eminem in 8 Mile. Credit: Universal Pictures

On a new BBC Sounds podcast, Bugzy Malone’s Grandest Game, Kirk said: “Because of the relationship that I had with Rockstar and I had with Sam, I actually tracked him down to his hotel room one night where I knew he was going to be staying, and the two of us stayed up late and talked about the possibility of making a film, and this was just after [GTA] 3.

“And I think at that point, you know, it was still in Sam’s mind that it might be something that he wanted to do. 

“Actually, should I tell this story…?

“I remember taking a call about 4am from a producer in Los Angeles with an offer to make a film, and he said, ‘Kirk, we’ve got Eminem to star, and it’s a Tony Scott film, $5 million on the nose, are you interested?’ and I phoned up Sam and said, ‘Look, listen to this, they want Eminem in the Grand Theft Auto movie and Tony Scott to direct, and he said: ‘Not interested’.

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“And at that point, they withdrew from any conversation about making a film, when they realised that the media franchise that they had, what they had, was bigger than any movie that was going on at the time.”

As far as Ewing is aware, that is the last time either brother spoke of GTA heading to the cinema.

In 2018, GTA V was declared the most profitable entertainment product of all time, beating record-breaking box office films such as Avatar and Titanic.

While no movie was ever made, a number of celebrities have had starring voice-over roles since 2001’s GTA III.

The likes of Samuel L Jackson and Ricky Gervais have appeared in different instalments of the series.

Eminem did eventually enjoy a GTA feature, as a guest star on Dr Dre’s soundtrack recorded for a GTA Online expansion pack.

Listen to Bugzy Malone’s Grandest Game on BBC Sounds here

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Written by Cal Gaunt

Cal is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in writing trending and entertainment news. He previously worked as a news reporter at the Lancashire Telegraph and earned an NCTJ in Sports Journalism.