Fans of the popular Grand Theft Auto video game franchise may be surprised to learn of plans to release a film inspired by the game 20 years ago. Even more shocking is the fact that Eminem was reportedly slated to take on the leading role, until Rockstar Games nixed the idea, that is.
According to Eurogamer Kirk Ewing, a close friend of Rockstar co-founders Sam and Dan Houser, the idea of a Grand Theft Auto movie was presented in 2001, after the release of the third game in the franchise. “This was just after three [released],” Ewing said during an appearance on Bugzy Malone’s Grandest Game podcast. “And I think at that point it was still in Sam’s mind that it might be something that they wanted to do.”
The gaming insider also reveals that an unnamed L.A.-based movie producer drew up a $5 million offer to attain the rights to the film, which starred the “Rap God” and would be helmed by Top Gun director Tony Scott. However, the idea for a Grand Theft Auto film centered around Slim Shady was ultimately shelved, as the Housers opted not to move forward with the plan in order to pour all of their focus into their own endeavors involving Rockstar.
“They withdrew from any conversation about making a film when they realized the media franchise they had was bigger than any movie that was going on at the time,” Ewing recalled of the founders’ decision to pass on the offer.
Missing out on Eminem raging the streets in stolen vehicles and causing mayhem may be a disappointment we never knew until now, but that didn’t stop Marshall from making a splash on the big screen. That same year, Em appeared in The Wash and would star in his blockbuster film 8 Mile, which opened at No. 1 at the Box Office and grossed $242.9 million worldwide, in 2002. The 50-year-old last appeared in the hit Starz drama BMF, playing legendary Detroit drug dealer White Boy Rick.