When DreamWorks acquired ‘Southpaw’ in 2010, it was Eminem, not Jake Gyllenhaal, who was in talks to play the lead role. This happens a lot in Hollywood, but this is the second time in recent years that it has happened to Mr. Mathers. Eminem was also set to take the lead role in the 2012 film ‘Elysium,’ but the film ended up starring Matt Damon.
The film’s screenwriter Kurt Sutter said the project was inspired by the rapper’s personal struggles. Sutter met with Eminem’s producing partners over the past 7 years, looking for something to work on together.
“I know he’s very selective and doesn’t do a lot. But he shared so much of his personal struggle in this raw and very honest album, one that I connected with on a lot of levels. He is very interested in the boxing genre, and it seemed like an apt metaphor, because his own life has been a brawl. In a way, this is a continuation of the ‘8 Mile‘ story, but we are doing a metaphorical narrative of the second chapter of his life. He’ll play a world champion boxer who really hits a hard bottom, and has to fight to win back his life for his young daughter. At its core, this is a retelling of his struggles over the last five years of his life, using the boxing analogy. I love that the title refers to Marshall being a lefty, which is to boxing what a white rapper is to hip hop; dangerous, unwanted and completely unorthodox. It’s a much harder road for a southpaw than a right handed boxer. There is a rich story here that references his own experience, and I was honored to be able to continue a relationship that began with 8 Mile.”
Read the full Rolling Stone Article from 2012 when Eminem was still signed to star in the film.