Eninem’s acting career, in which he plays a character and not himself, really only consists of one credit – the acclaimed 2002 drama movie 8 Mile. Eninem won praise for his performance, but chose to concentrate on his music career. However, during the early 2000s, his name was circulating some other movie projects – not least a movie adaptation of the massively popular videogame Grand Theft Auto.
Kirk Ewing, a games industry veteran and friend of GTA creators Sam and Dan Houser, told the Bugzy Malone’s Grandest Game podcast [via NME] that a Hollywood agent brought the potential deal to him. The Houser brothers were reportedly offered $5million for the rights to a film starring the rapper, and directed by none other than Tony Scott, but Kirk recalled Sam Houser telling their agent they were “not interested.”
A producer reportedly 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 [Houser] and I said ‘Listen to this. They want Eminem in the Grand Theft Auto movie and Tony Scott to direct’. And he said; ‘Not interested’.”
Ewing added that the Houser brothers realised that “the media franchise that they had was bigger than any movie that was going on at the time.” The early 2000s were a relatively successful time for video game movies – with the first Resident Evil (2002) and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2003), but things went fairly quickly downhill with the likes of Doom (2005), Hitman (2007), and Max Payne (2008). So on balance, the Houser brothers were probably on the right side of history.
In contrast, 2022 has seen a huge peak in terms of video game adaptations being announced as in development. Since the Super Mario Bros movie was released in 1993, there have been around 40 videogame movie adaptations in total, including all the Resident Evil sequels. And there are currently 26 videogame adaptations in development. Clearly the success of Sonic the Hedgehog has had an impact.