Back in 2010, DreamWorks picked up a script for a potential boxing film called Southpaw – with Eminem being eyed for the lead. Written by Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy), the project was said to be inspired by the Detroit emcee’s personal struggles.
“I know he’s very selective and doesn’t do a lot. But he shared so much of his personal struggle in this raw and very honest album, one that I connected with on a lot of levels,” Kurt revealed to Deadline in 2010. “He 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 we are doing a metaphorical narrative of the second chapter of his life. He’ll play a world champion boxer who really hits a hard bottom, and has to fight to win back his life for his young daughter. At its core, this is a retelling of his struggles over the last five years of his life, using the boxing analogy. I love that the title refers to Marshall being a lefty, which is to boxing what a white rapper is to hip hop; dangerous, unwanted, and completely unorthodox. It’s a much harder road for a southpaw than a right handed boxer. There is a rich story here that references his own experience, and I was honored to be able to continue a relationship that began with 8 Mile.”
Unfortunately, the following years were plagued with a series of hurdles. On top of the script being dropped and picked up more times than Luke Ridnour, Eminem’s main focus was still in music – recording and releasing Recovery and Hell: The Sequel with his Bad Meets Evil partner-in-rhyme Royce Da 5’9″. It wasn’t until March of 2014 that the project was finally set in motion, and everything changed. Antoine Fugua signed on to direct the film, Jake Gyllenhaal replaced Marshall in the lead role, and The Weinstein Company stepped up for distribution.
Fast forward to today (Friday, July 24), and Southpaw is now in theaters. An accompanying soundtrack, executive produced by Eminem, has also been released via Shady Records. Led by Em’s “Phenomenal” single, the OST features new music from Bad Meets Evil, Slaughterhouse (“R.N.S.“), 50 Cent, PRhyme (“Mode” w/ Logic), Eminem again (“Kings Never Die” w/ Gwen Stefani), and more.