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Why Eminem Is The Real Life Inspiration For The Weinstein Company’s New Film “Southpaw”

Southpaw Soundtrack Shady/Interscope Records

Eminem helped David Letterman successor Stephen Colbert surprise us all this week, as the unlikely duo took over the public access airwaves of Monroe Michigan in one of the most oddly delightful broadcasts out there. Colbert, who fills in for the two local hosts of this actual show called Only In Monroe, comically interview Em in an uninformed way, stereotypically treating him as if he was simply a “local artist” trying to get noticed.  This very unusual interview included discussion of The Weinstein Company’s new film Southpaw, which after taking a closer look is what this stunt was really all about. As we previously reported, Emiem is serving as the Southpaw soundtrack’s executive producer. In the interview however, Colbert went on describing him as one of the actual film’s producers as well.

Although IMDB doesn’t list him as a producer, we read up on the film’s production history, and we can see why, even though it’s a boxer movie, having the rapper formerly known as Slim Shady serve as producer makes perfect sense. Why? Well, Emiem is credited by the film’s writer Kurt Sutter for inspiring the entire concept.

In an interview with, Sutter essentially told Mike Fleming Jr. that the screenplay was written simply as an excuse to work with the rap star, explaining that he took meetings with Em’s camp for 7 years trying to get him to be involved.  This is because Sutter wrote it with the intent of Emiem being in the lead role, saying that he saw Southpaw as the metaphorical sequel to Eminem’s 2002 feature film breakthrough, 8 Mile.

“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. 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.”

Reports indicate that Eminem would have taken that lead role if Dreamworks distributed it as originally intended in 2010. However, when Dreamworks dropped the project and it passed through the hands of MGM and Columbia Pictures, Eminem decided to refocus his efforts back to music. Finally, Southpaw was placed in the hands of producer Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company. By the time this happened however, Eminem was replaced with Jake Gyllenhaal as lead character Billy Hope.

That said, there are still some great music world talents involved. British Roc Nation recording artist Rita Ora, who gets rave reviews from Weinstein, helps Tyrease Gibson, and former Emiem protégé 50 Cent fill out the already exceptional cast. Weinstein told The Daily Mail that Ora’s performance was “heart-breakingly real and wonderful and acting opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, who is riveting in this movie, she holds her own and then some.” She is described as his “biggest discovery as an actress this year”.

He illustrated his point by describing the emotional scene in which she stole the show, saying, “her scene is breathtaking, … we made her up to look like a tough junkie who’s got a kid to protect.”

The metaphorical 8 Mile 2 aka Southpaw is set to hit US theaters on July 24th. Until then check out the soundtrack’s lead single “Phenomenal” below.


“Phenomenal” (explicit)

From: Southpaw soundtrack

Shady/Interscope Records

Related Media:
Eminem With Guest host Stephen Colbert
On: Only In Monroe 
MPACT/The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Southpaw (Trailer 2)
Wanda Pictures/The Weinstein Company
8 Mile (Trailer 1)
Imagine Entertainment/Universal Pictures