Back in June, we told you about director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) leaving his long-gestating Tupac Shakur project in favor of a boxing drama entitled Southpaw. Written by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, Southpaw was picked up by DreamWorks as a pitch with Eminem attached to lead the pic in his first performance since 2002′s 8 Mile. Fast-forward to the present and DreamWorks has essentially given the film back to Fuqua and co. to market to other potential takers. Sutter’s Southpaw script would see Eminem play a welterweight boxing champion who crashes hard following an unspecified tragedy. As a result, the heart of the film will see him make a comeback for the ages so as to supplement he and his young daughter.
No specific reasons are being cited for DreamWorks’ move, but Deadline purports that Southpaw‘s budget (rumored to be around $30 million) could be the culprit. The general theory is that a budget closer to the one utilized by The Fighter (in the low $20 million range) would be more enticing in a market that is fighter-heavy already (i.e. The Fighter and Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy’s upcoming Warrior). All this in mind, given the talent behind Southpaw, I would guess that we’ll be hearing about the project landing on its feet somewhere sooner rather than later.