Having recently recaptured some of his former musical glory (as far as sales figures are concerned, anyway), Eminem’s effort to fold time and return to his circa-2002 stature continues with a renewed bid for Hollywood stardom—something that was once a seeming lock after 8 Mile, but which soon dissipated in a fart-cloud of public image problems. First up, as we reported in December, Sons Of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter plans to cast him in the boxing drama Southpaw, in which the struggles of a left-hand fighter to get back on top in the ring will serve as an allegory for that time a multimillionaire rapper made a couple of dumb albums and got a little chubby and stuff.
Now Vulture has heard that Eminem is set to star in a new film project, albeit one that's based on an old idea: Random Acts Of Violence began life as an attempt to adapt Grand Theft Auto for the big screen, until Rockstar Games realized it would make them barely any money and potentially run their golden goose through with a katana. It’s now been revived as “a thriller more akin to The Town or The Departed,” where Eminem will play an ex-con whose efforts to stay clean are complicated by both the pressures of his old gang and the FBI, who want him to rat on his friends; Eminem’s character then plays both sides against each other until he can exact revenge on those who sent him to prison, whether they be his old running buddies or those (allegedly) on the side of the law.
Say, now that you mention it, is there any chance this won’t be derided as a straight-to-video-caliber knock-off of The Town? Probably not, unless it manages to surround Eminem with a supporting cast capable of distracting from its rather formulaic premise and not just stick, say, Common and Michael Rapaport in there. Regardless, the film is currently being prepped by writer-director David Von Ancken—primarily known for TV shows like CSI: NY, Cold Case, and Californication, and the upcoming AMC drama Hell On Wheels, along with the post-Civil War actioner Seraphim Falls—and is expected to start shooting later this year, before the public at large starts mocking Eminem again.