Eminem drops out, Jake Gyllenhaal may drop in (Photo: Getty/WireImage)
Apparently being on the silver screen isn't a high priority for the chart-topping and controversial hip-hop artist. For the second time in the past year he's dropped out of a major project, and he doesn't have any films in the pipeline.
The news broke this morning that he's no longer attached to the long in-development sports drama, "Southpaw." The Wrap reports that Jake Gyllenhaal is in talks to take Eminem's place.
"Southpaw" tells the story of left-handed boxer who wins a title but soon after suffers a personal tragedy, forcing him to reexamine and rebuild his life and win the respect of his young daughter. The film itself has been something of a fighter, as it's gone from DreamWorks to MGM to Sony and finally to The Weinstein Company, which will be putting the story in front of cameras under the direction of Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day").
Em was also the first choice for Neill Blomkamp's "Elysium." But he turned it down and Matt Damon took over (for an idea of what the poster might've looked like had Eminem starred in the film, look no further than right here).
Eminem was last seen on the big screen playing a rather hilarious version of himself in "Funny People" (2008), and before that he played a less hilarious version of himself in the semi-autobiographical drama "8 Mile" (2002).
Eminem in '8 Mile' (Photo: Everett)
Maybe he's just too busy with his musical comeback to make movies. His eighth studio album, "The Marshall Mathers LP 2," is being released next week and has already found success with some hit singles, including "Berzerk" — released in late August and which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 100 — "Survival" and "Rap God." His latest duet with Rhianna, "The Monster," was released earlier this week. The duo previously found massive chart success with "Love the Way You Lie," which was the biggest hit off Eminem's 2010 album, "Recovery."
Or maybe he's just ... well, gotten too weird to make movies? During halftime of a recent Notre Dame-Michigan football game — during which ESPN aired the world premiere of the "Berzerk" video — Eminem spent the first portion of his interview open-mouthed and staring into space before suddenly snapping out of it and claiming that "Live TV freaks me out a little bit."
That might explain his stone-faced silence in the promos for his upcoming musical guest spot on "Saturday Night Live," in which host Kerry Washington and "SNL" cast member Nasim Pedrad try in vain to get the rapper all riled up. Granted, he later shows off some not-bad comic timing when he deadpans, "I love cupcakes."
Whatever the reason Eminem seems to have turned his back on a film career, we hope he actually does one day find a role in which he can, to paraphrase one of his most popular singles, 'lose himself.' He's basically only ever played variations on his own strong personality — it would be great to see if he can channel all of that energy into a persona that's nothing like his own.
You know, we'd love to see him act one day.
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- Marshall Mathers