This Movie Almost Cast Eminem Before Matt Damon Replaced Him
Why did Eminem turn down the role in Elysium?
Elysium is like, hands down, a solid dystopian sci-fi movie of the decade. Matt Damon took on the role of the main character, Max DeCosta. However, Damon wasn’t the first contender.
Director Neill Blomkamp, known for his innovative approach to filmmaking, had a different vision for Elysium initially. Before the movie became the big-budget spectacle we know today, Blomkamp imagined it on a smaller scale.
His first choice for the lead role wasn't Matt Damon but Ninja, a member of the South African rap crew Die Antwoord. However, Ninja felt the role was a bit too high-profile for his acting debut.
However, Ninja starred in another Blomkamp’s movie, released two years after Elysium, Chappie.
After Ninja's refusal, Blomkamp's sights turned to Eminem. Yes, the Lose Yourself rapper was approached for the role. Eminem, who had previously showcased his acting skills in 8 Mile, showed interest.
But he had one non-negotiable condition: the film had to be shot in his hometown of Detroit. This proved to be a challenge for the production, leading Blomkamp to look elsewhere.
With two potential leads out of the picture, Blomkamp approached Hollywood A-lister Matt Damon. Contrary to what many might think, big stars like Damon often aren't the first choice for major roles. In fact, Damon himself mentioned in an interview (via MTV) that being the second or even third choice is quite common in the industry.
Regardless of how it came to be, Damon took on the role of Mac DeCosta, a reformed car thief in a dystopian future, and the rest is cinematic history.
Set in the year 2159, Elysium paints a picture of a divided human race. The elite enjoy a luxurious life on a pristine space station called Elysium, while the rest grapple with crime and poverty on a deteriorating Earth. Damon's character embarks on a perilous mission to breach Elysium's strict immigration laws, challenging the status quo.
Elysium made a total of $286 million globally, against a budget of $115 million. According to The Hollywood Reporter, after accounting for all the costs, the movie actually only ended up making around $18 million in profit.