Rockstar Turns Down GTA Movie Starring Eminem

One of the most successful series in video games almost became a film, as was recently revealed. Imagine a Grand theft Auto Film, with Eminem as the lead role. However, in a turn of events, the idea never made it to production.

Kirk Ewing, a former agent, who helped sell the idea of a Grand Theft Auto film to Rockstar‘s co-founder and President Sam Houser, was a guest on the latest episode of the BBC podcast Bugzy Malone’s Grandest Game. Ewing, claims that a late-night talk between former Rockstar chief Sam Houser and the Grammy-winning rapper almost resulted in him starring in a film adaptation of the game.

This was about the time when Eminem’s career was soaring due to the success of his album Marshall Mathers LP. In addition, he had recently completed filming his leading role in 8 Mile, a semi-autobiographical film based on his journey into rap.

Kirk continued by saying that discussion regarding a film adaptation of Grand Theft Auto began about the same time as GTA 3 had become successful. He then recalls that he and Sam Houser checked into a hotel and spoke about turning GTA into a movie till the crack of dawn. Once Kirk realized that Sam Houser was interested in making a film adaptation of the Grand Theft Auto games, he knew the time was right to start talking about the project.

Because of the relationship that I had with Rockstar and I had with Sam, I actually tracked him down to his hotel room one night where I knew he was going to be staying, and the two of us stayed up late and talked about the possibility of making a film,” began Ewing.

This was just after [GTA] 3. And I think at that point, you know, it was still in Sam’s mind that it might be something that he wanted to do.” And while it may seem like a no-brainer to green light a GTA film now, this pitch was from the early 2000s. A time when video game films didn’t exactly have the best reputation.”

Ewing thought Rockstar may be interested, so he set out to find a way to connect Hollywood with Grand Theft Auto. He got a call at 4 in the morning from a producer in Los Angeles offering to make a movie with the following details: “Kirk, we’ve secured Eminem to appear in a Tony Scott film that will cost five million on the nose.” Project doomed before it even got started when Ewing called Houser to share the good news and was met with a short and sharp “not interested.”

Since Grand Theft Auto 3 didn’t come out until October of 2001, this likely took place the same year or early 2002. Long before the current wave of great video game adaptations, when few people had really figured out how to do that, there were a few that did. So it’s understandable that Rockstar would dismiss the concept for this reason. It’s hard to believe anyone at the studio is regretting they didn’t make a movie out of the games when they had the chance 20 years ago.

Even though there has never been a Grand Theft Auto film, many famous actors have lined up to be a part of GTA3’s massive voice cast. Celebrities as varied as Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Liotta, Ricky Gervais, and Frankie Boyle have all made cameo appearances in various episodes. And Eminem has made an appearance on the game’s renowned soundtrack as a guest star on a Dr. Dre track made for a GTA Online add-on.


Farhan Ali

Farhan is a passionate writer with an undying love for games, PC hardware, and technology. With nearly 5 years of experience in blogging and over 14 years of experience in gaming, this is what he loves and does best.