We’ve got a number of casting announcements to attend to this afternoon. Briefly:
- Jake Gyllenhaal is poised to take over the role previously held by Eminem in the long-gestating boxing drama Southpaw.
- Christopher Walken will play jazz opposite Lenny Kravitz in the upcoming musician drama Little Rootie Tootie.
- Minnie Driver and Frank Grillo (The Grey) are set to topline the indie thriller A Conspiracy on Jekyll Island alongside Dianna Agron (Glee), John Leguizamo, Maggie Q, and more.
- Director Matthew Vaughn has added a femme fatale to his graphic novel adaptation The Secret Service in model Sofia Boutella.
Hit the jump for more details on the aforementioned projects.
The game of “hot potato” over the long-in-development boxing drama Southpaw continues. The pic was initially developed as a starring vehicle for Eminem, centering on a welterweight’s rise to a championship title “as he battles various tragedies in his personal life and wins back the love of his daughter.” Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy) wrote the script and Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) came aboard to direct in the summer of 2011 only to see DreamWorks back out of producing the film soon thereafter. MGM and Sony subsequently stepped in to take control of the property, but last spring the studios decided to put the film on the backburner.
Fuqua moved on to helming the upcoming White House actioner Olympus Has Fallen in the meantime, but now another studio looks to be stepping up to get the film back on track: The Weinstein Company. Hit the jump for more.
It’s time for a status check on Southpaw. Last we heard, DreamWorks let the project go, and the filmmakers were shopping it elsewhere. I have been rooting for Southpaw to find a home because of the intriguing collection of talent: Eminem starring, Antoine Fuqua (Brooklyn’s Finest) directing, a script by Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy). Southpaw won’t need to wander too much longer, because that project also enticed a number of studio suitors. MGM is reportedly the frontrunner to acquire the film with a bid that places Sony in charge of distribution.
Sutter’s script follows a welterweight boxing champion (Eminem) whose life is upended when tragedy strikes. Hit the jump for more on the story, including Sutter’s explanation of how it parallels Eminem’s career.
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.
If you were holding your breath for Antoine Fuqua’s (Training Day) Tupac Shakur biopic, you may want to go ahead and exhale because it looks as if its going to be awhile. 24 Frames reports that Fuqua has not only left the biopic which was slated to begin shooting this summer, but is now in talks to helm a boxing drama starring Eminem instead. Per the report, Fuqua’s latest squeeze is entitled Southpaw and comes from the pen of Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter. The film centers on a left-handed welterweight (Eminem) whose rise to the title is riddled with numerous trials/tribulations. The pic is currently set up at DreamWorks.
The report makes no mention regarding the reasoning behind Fuqua’s apparent departure from the Tupac biopic and is quick to point out that no formal announcement regarding Southpaw has been released as of yet. Nevertheless, a Fuqua-less biopic seems somewhat of a long shot given its long road through development and the director’s apparent proximity to the material. As for Southpaw, the film would be Eminem/Marshall Mathers’ first film since Curtis Hanson’s 8 Mile and potentially Fuqua’s first output since 2010′s Brooklyn’s Finest. Finally, in spite of the uncertainty of his biopic, Shakur may still have a presence on the silver screen in the form of his recently acquired screenplay Live 2 Tell which focuses on a teenage drug lord’s attempt to ditch his life of crime.
Eminem (aka Marshall Mathers) will star in the boxing drama, Southpaw, for DreamWorks. Mathers will play “a fast-rising welterweight boxer who brawls his way to the title, only to see his world crash down around him due to tragedy.” DreamWorks bought the film from a pitch by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, who aims to have a screenplay draft ready by February, before he has to start preparing the fourth season of Sons of Anarchy.
Southpaw marks Mathers’ return to acting after earning a lot of critical praise for his debut performance in 2002’s 8 Mile. Hit the jump to read about why Mathers chose Southpaw to be his return to acting, and what will make the film a semi-continuation of 8 Mile.