Eminem established himself long ago as a rapper. But was Slim Shady almost a “Jumper” too?
As it turns out, the famed white rapper was lined up to play the lead role in the new action film, “Jumper,” director Doug Liman revealed to MTVNews.com.
“We did have a meeting. We did have conversations with Eminem,” the writer/director said about the rapper, whose real name is Marshall Mathers.
Eminem became a surprise box office star in 2002 in the autobiographical “8 Mile.” Apparently, after being bitten by the acting bug, he spent some time looking for his next project when the “Jumper” script reportedly caught his eye in early 2006.
At that same time, Liman (who just a few months earlier had been tapped to direct “Jumper”) entered talks about bringing Eminem on board to star as the teleporting David Rice.
“(The idea to meet with the rapper) was sort of coming from the producer and (Eminem’s) manager,” Liman told MTVNews.com.
And while it may not have been his idea to bring him on board, Liman certainly wasn’t opposed to it, especially after talking with the rapper.
“If I’ve proven anything to myself, it’s that I can tailor a role to an actor… develop the role… and make it extremely specific to them,” Liman recounted. “So as long as the person has acting chops, I’m open to talking to almost anybody for almost any role.”
But at the same time he was considering Eminem, Liman also met with another actor about the part: Hayden Christensen.
And as moviegoers are now aware, the former “Star Wars” star eventually landed the role, opposite Rachel Bilson and Samuel L. Jackson.
Unfortunately for Eminem, as soon as Liman met with Christensen, the courtship of the rapper was all but over.
“At that point, I had already met Hayden and had fallen in love with Hayden,” Liman added. “It was one of those things where the studio, with all things being equal, would rather put a bigger name in the movie (and wanted Eminem). At some point, I just put my foot down and said, ‘I love Hayden.’”
Of course, actors being considered and quickly replaced is a tale as old as Hollywood itself.
Recently, however, many rather big names have been replaced while waiting in line for their next starring role in a Doug Liman film.
While Matt Damon has made a name for himself chasing down bad guys in the “Bourne” franchise, it was almost one of his “Ocean’s” pals, Brad Pitt, who stepped into the role of Jason Bourne.
And speaking of Pitt, how different would things be now if Angelina Jolie hadn’t shared the screen with him in “Mr. & Mrs. Smith?” What if, instead, that role went to another Hollywood beauty?
“The thing is that you’re like, ‘Oh my God, what would that movie have been like?’” Liman concluded, referencing the “Jumper” casting choice. “But you’ve got to understand that Nicole Kidman was originally cast as the lead in ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith,’ and Brad Pitt was originally the lead in ‘Bourne Identity.’”
Both “Bourne Identity” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” were directed by Liman.