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Eminem almost played a role eventually taken by Darth Vader

Eminem's acting career in the 2000s could have gone to the next level, but this fascinating sci-fi role ended up going to a key member of the Star Wars cast.

Eminem almost played a role that ultimately went to Darth Vader

There have been some curious near-misses in terms of Eminem and Hollywood. Eminem has come within a whisker of being in some of the biggest new movies of the last few decades, bringing his fame as one of the world’s most prominent rappers to the big screen beyond his rap-focused work in one of his best drama movies, 8 Mile.

The star almost got the plum role of Brian in the Fast and Furious franchise and was also first choice for the lead character played by Matt Damon in the underrated sci-fi Elysium. It turns out he also came within a whisker of playing a role that ultimately went to one of the key players in the Star Wars cast.

Hayden Christensen was one of the leads of the Star Wars prequels and, if you’ve watched the Star Wars movies in order, you’ll know that he portrays Anakin Skywalker as he transitions from talented Jedi to one of the best Star Wars villains – the intimidating Darth Vader.

In 2008, Christensen got one of his most prominent post-Anakin roles as the lead of Doug Liman sci-fi movie Jumper. That movie follows a man with the power of teleportation, who becomes the target of an evil secret society.

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Liman confirmed to MTV that, before Christensen was in the frame, he had conversations with Eminem about taking on the lead role. The director said these conversations were driven by the film’s producer and Eminem’s manager.

He admitted that he was open to bringing Eminem in to play the role. “If I’ve proven anything to myself, it’s that I can tailor a role to an actor … [I could] develop the role with [someone like Eminem] and make it extremely specific to them. So as long as the person has acting chops, I’m open to talking to almost anybody for almost any role.”

Tom Sturridge had originally been cast, but Liman came under pressure to bring in someone more bankable. This led to conversations with both Eminem and Christensen, and the rest is history. Christensen got the role, but the movie got battered by negative reviews. It’s currently at just 15% approval on Rotten Tomatoes.

8 Mile star Eminem nearly played a role taken by Darth Vader

It’s intriguing to consider what might have happened if Eminem had played the lead in Jumper. It certainly would’ve given the movie a different flavor and perhaps it could have given it a bit of the unique personality that critics at the time said it lacked.

For more on the rapper’s acting near-misses, find out a little more about how Eminem nearly played Brian in Fast and Furious and the role Matt Damon played because Eminem said no. And speaking of the Fast family, we think the MCU should learn a big lesson from the Fast and Furious movies.

Christensen, meanwhile, is back in the Star Wars fold for the Ahsoka release date, so it’s a good time to find out what you need to watch before Ahsoka. Elsewhere, you can learn more about the best movies still to come this year, including the Dune 2 release date.