One of the most surprising things about Southpaw (other than Jake Gyllenhaal's shock of a body transformation) is that the boxing drama was inspired by the life of Eminem — yes, that Eminem. The movie follows the struggle of a successful boxer (Gyllenhaal) whose life quickly spins out of control when his wife dies and he loses custody of his daughter, and although Eminem might not have a background in boxing, he's all too familiar, as 8 Mile fans know, with stories of loss and redemption. But if it's based on his life, then why isn't Eminem in Southpaw ? You'd think that the rapper, who's proven he has acting chops before, would want to star in the movie version of his past.
For awhile, he did. Southpaw was originally green-lit with Eminem as its star, and at the time (2010), the film's screenwriter, Kurt Sutter, told Deadline that the movie was planned as "a retelling of his struggles over the last five years of his life." Sutter revealed that he had met with the rapper's producing team often over the last decade, looking for a way to tell his story in a new, original light. Yet two years later, the Detroit Free Press reported that Eminem had decided to delay the movie in order to focus more on his music. Said the rapper's rep, "While he’s in that space, he wanted to put this on hold for the time being." Apparently, that break ended up being permanent, because in early 2014, it was announced that the movie had acquired both a new director, Antoine Fuqua, and a new star, Jake Gyllenhaal.
Eminem didn't totally disappear from the picture, though; the rapper still executive produced Southpaw's soundtrack, which included his single "Phenomenal" and the Gwen Stefani-featuring "Kings Never Die." So it appears that there was no bad blood between Eminem and the filmmakers, and that the reason for Gyllenhaal's starring role simply had to do with time and logistics.
But what has Eminem been up to instead of Southpaw? No one can accuse the rapper of not keeping busy.
He Released An Album
Shady XV, a compilation album featuring greatest hits by Eminem along with Slaughterhouse and D12, among others, was released in November 2015. Reviews were mixed, but it was certified gold in June.
He Put Out A Box Set
In March, Eminem released a 10-disc box set that included his eight albums, the 8 Mile soundtrack, and a compilation album.
He Contributed To Others' Songs
Eminem appeared on songs from both Tech N9ne and Yelawolf during the year's first half.
He Produced The Southpaw Soundtrack
The hip-hop soundtrack features music from Eminem, 50 Cent, and the Weeknd, among others. The movie's score was the last ever composed by the legendary James Horner, who died in a plane crash in June.
He Stirred Up Controversy
In July, a freestyle performed by the rapper included transphobic lyrics about Caitlyn Jenner, which, naturally, earned him much criticism.
He Signed On To A Huge New Project
Eminem will be both music supervisor and an executive producer for Narc , an upcoming Paramount TV series based on the Detroit-set crime thriller of the same time. Deadline reports that he'll also contribute original songs to the series.
Clearly, the guy's been busy. It would'd been cool to see him take on Southpaw's lead role, but honestly, who knows if he'd even have had the time.