GTA co-creator Sam Houser allegedly shut down the idea of a GTA movie starring Eminem, the film having been pitched to him just after the release of GTA 3.
While it seems like almost every major video game franchise is getting a film or TV show adaptation at the moment, the gaming industry has never had the best reputation when it comes to creating movies or shows based on the source material.
However, it has now been revealed that one of gaming’s biggest juggernaut franchises almost had a movie in the works. That franchise being the iconic Grand Theft Auto series.
In the new episode of BBC’s Bugzy Malone’s Grandest Game podcast, Kirk Ewing spoke about his relationship with GTA developer Rockstar and how – at one point in time – his job as an agent led him to help pitch a GTA film to the company co-founder and President, Sam Houser.
“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.
Not only was the general idea floated around but the pitch also had a director and big star attached to the project. “I remember taking a call about 4AM from a producer in Los Angeles with an offer to make a film, and he said, ‘Kirk, we’ve got Eminem to star, and it’s a Tony Scott film, five million on the nose, are you interested?’” Tony Scott being a very successful action director, having worked on the likes of the original Top Gun film.
Despite this, the idea was swiftly shut down, Ewing then explaining how he “phoned up Sam and said ‘Look, listen to this, they want Eminem in the Grand Theft Auto movie and Tony Scott to direct, and he said: ‘Not interested.’”
Ewing then went on to add that “at that point, they withdrew from any conversation about making a film, when they realized that the media franchise that they had, what they had, was bigger than any movie that was going on at the time.”
And while the Eminem-led GTA movie pitch was shut down, there is always the possibility that one could get made at some point in the future.