Rockstar Games has turned down the chance to release a Grand Theft Auto movie starring Eminem, according to a new podcast.
Games industry veteran Kirk Ewing, a friend of Rockstar founder Sam and his colleague Dan Houser, says a Hollywood agent came to him with a deal.
He said the brother of Top Gun director Tony Scott was offered $5 million for the rights to a film starring the rapper.
However, Kirk said on the BBC podcast “Bugsy Malone’s Grandest Game” that Sam Hauser is “not interested” for now.
The beginning of a collaboration idea
Kirk, whose game was published by Rockstar, says the Housers talked about a movie back when GTA 3 shook up the gaming world at its release.
Released on the PlayStation 2 in 2001, this landmark title laid the foundation for the rest of the series and the imitators that followed.
That same year, Eminem took to the skies with his record-breaking Marshall Mathers LP.
He had also just finished shooting his lead role in 8 Mile, a semi-biographical film loosely based on his early rap career.
Kirk said in his podcast that he tracked down Sam Houser to a hotel and the two stayed up late talking about the possibility of him making a GTA movie.
“I think at that point it was still in Sam’s mind that it might be something that he wanted to do,” Kirk says.
He says he was phoned at 04:00 by an LA producer with an offer.
Kirk recalls: “He said ‘Kirk we’ve got Eminem to star, and it’s a Tony Scott film – $5m on the nose. Are you interested?’
“And I phoned up Sam and I said ‘Listen to this. They want Eminem in the Grand Theft Auto movie and Tony Scott to direct’.
“And he said: ‘Not interested’.”from BBC podcast
And, as far as Kirk knows, this is the last time either brother has spoken about his GTA coming to the big screen.
“They realized their media franchise was bigger than any movie that was out at the time,” says Kirk.
An unbearable wait
GTA has grown into a cultural juggernaut and was named the most profitable entertainment product of all time in 2018.
The studio finally confirmed this year that GTA VI was in development and Rockstar’s suggested gamers will finally see it by 2024 or 2025.
It’s claimed that even though early footage of the game leaked in September, it won’t affect the title’s long-term plans.
Rockstar and its parent company Take-Two Interactive did not respond to Newsbeat’s requests for comment.
The world has never seen a Grand Theft Auto movie, but the A-list stars are lining up to join the extensive voice cast for the GTA3 sequel.
Actors Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Liotta, and comedians Ricky Gervais and Frankie Boyle appear in various parts of the series.
And Eminem popped on the game’s critically acclaimed soundtrack – the Dr. Dre track recorded for the GTA Online expansion pack.