Eminem came close to playing the lead role in one of the biggest movies of 2015: Mad Max: Fury Road. Those behind the 10-time Oscar-nominated film recently revealed Marshall Mathers was in consideration for the role of Max Rockatansky, which Tom Hardy went on to play.
“This is something I don’t hear about very much and that George [Miller] never admits, but I have a very, very, very strong memory of George talking about Eminem for Max,” lead storyboard artist Mark Sexton told Vulture.
Production and development executive Petrina Hull added, “That is true! See, that’s one of those wild-card things: There were always these people that George would see in popular culture, and he’d want to know more about this person.”
Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller felt Eminem had what it takes to play the character after seeing him in 2002’s 8 Mile.
“He’d done 8 Mile, and I found that really interesting — I thought, ‘He’s got that quality,'” he said. “We’d done the first Happy Feet with the late Brittany Murphy, and she had done 8 Mile, so I asked her what he was like and would this be something really interesting for him? She had no reservations about saying what a wonderful talent he is.”
Sexton even designed storyboards with Eminem’s hair color, saying, “I got brought back in to redraw a bunch of storyboards in March 2007 and do a bunch of cut-and-pastes to put blonde hair on Max.
George Miller initially wanted to cast Eminem as the lead in Mad Max: Fury Road: “He’d done ‘8 Mile,’ and I found that really interesting — I thought, ‘He’s got that quality.’”
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Ultimately, it was Eminem who made the final decision. George Miller was in contact with Em about starring in the movie, but he was only down to be involved if he didn’t have to leave Michigan.
“We did get in touch with him, though that’s as far as it went because we were going to shoot it in Australia at that point, and he simply didn’t want to leave home,” he explained. “I think he had the impression that if he could do it out of his home state, then he’d be up for it.”
Sexton added, “I’m kind of glad it didn’t happen. Eminem, really? Whole different bent there. And the feminist story behind Mad Max: Fury Road might have taken a bit of a hammering if he’d played the role.”
Not only was Eminem in talks to star in the film, but Rihanna also auditioned as one of Immortan Joe’s Five Wives.
“Usually, actors turn up dressed very casually, but boy, Rihanna looked spectacular when she walked in,” Miller said. “I’m not sure she was even aware of the content of the movie, so she dressed up as Rihanna, which was the right thing to do.”
Mad Max: Fury Road was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director and won the most awards at the 2016 Oscars, picking up Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
Eminem most recently starred in 50 Cent’s BMF series as White Boy Rick.