'Elysium' Sought Eminem, Die Antwoord Rapper for Lead Role

Role went to Matt Damon after other prospects declined

Eminem, Ninja of Die Antwoord.
Michael Caulfield/WireImage; Douglas Mason/Getty Images
July 18, 2013 8:30 AM ET

Turns out Matt Damon was the third choice for the starring role in Elysium: director Neil Blomkamp had first sought South African rapper Ninja, from the group Die Antwoord, and then Eminem for the lead in his futuristic sci-fi thriller, The Guardian reports.

The South African director first approached Ninja, a countryman who is a fan of Blomkamp's last film, District 9, but the rapper declined.

Summer Movie Preview 2013: 'Elysium'

"It was a fucked up, difficult decision," he said. Ultimately, Ninja wanted his breakout role as an actor to be something other than the role of an American character in a big-budget film. 

Blomkamp next approached Eminem, who said he would do it only if the film were shot in Detroit, his hometown. 

In the end the role went to Damon who stars as a reformed car thief travelling to a utopian space station suspended in orbit above a ruined planet. Elysium, which also stars Jodi Foster, hits theaters on August 9th.

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