“While he’s in that space, he wanted to put this on hold for the time being,” says Eminem’s spokesman, Dennis Dennehy.
Southpaw, a film about a welterweight boxer trying to get his life and career back on track, applied for $8.9 million in Michigan film incentives earlier this year. However, organizers withdrew their application due to “talent issues,” as the minutes for a Michigan Film Office meeting put it.
The film would have employed over 200 crew members plus 9,000 extras, the Free Press notes. As Dennehy explains, “When the film does get made, the plan is that the bulk of it will be shot in Michigan. That was always the understanding.”
The film would mark Eminem’s first starring role on the big screen since his debut in 8 Mile. Producers for Southpaw include several people close to the Shady camp, including longtime manager and Shady Records co-founder Paul Rosenberg and 8 Mile producer Stuart Parr.
In a 2010 interview with Deadline, Southpaw screenwriter Kurt Sutter said, “[Eminem] 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, rather than a literal biography, we are doing a metaphorical narrative of the second chapter of his life.”
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This isn’t the first roadbump that Southpaw has hit. After being put on hold by Dreamworks in August, MGM picked up the rights to the movie in October, with Sony set to distribute it.
Last January, it was reported that Eminem was set to appear in another film, the crime thriller Random Acts of Violence. The status of that film has not been announced lately.