Eminem hasn’t focused much on a career path as an actor, but he apparently was in the running for a film that could have potentially changed his trajectory and had nothing to do with Mom’s spaghetti.
Film producer Todd Lieberman was a guest on the latest episode of the Hollywood Gold podcast, where he revealed that Eminem was initially producers’ top choice to star as boxer Micky Ward in The Fighter. The role in the 2010 David O. Russell-directed movie ultimately went to Mark Wahlberg, with Christian Bale playing his brother Dicky Eklund.
“The first person that we thought would star in this film was Eminem,” Lieberman said. “Eminem was going to be Micky Ward.”
The producer explained that discussions surrounding Eminem followed the success of director Curtis Hanson’s 2002 film 8 Mile, which featured the music superstar playing aspiring rapper B-Rabbit in a story that incorporated autobiographical elements of the Grammy-winning performer’s actual past. Although Lieberman emphasized that there was “real life” to the possibility of Eminem playing the role, he did not specify how close this came to happening or why it didn’t work out.
“That was a moment in time where he had come off of 8 Mile, and he was interested in making movies, and he wanted to do a boxing movie,” Lieberman said. “So that was something we pursued for a minute. And there was real life in that for a minute.”
He added that there was then a plan for the film to star Matt Damon as Micky and Brad Pitt as Dicky. Indeed, the project saw notable names come and go throughout the development process, as Darren Aronofsky was intending to direct before Russell took over.
Eventually, Wahlberg and Bale landed the roles, and the movie collected $129 million worldwide ($177 million today). It earned seven Oscar nominations, with Bale winning best supporting actor and Melissa Leo prevailing for best supporting actress.
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