Matt Damon stepped in for Eminem in 'Elysium'
August 1st, 2013
12:15 PM ET

Matt Damon stepped in for Eminem in 'Elysium'

If "Elysium" writer/director Neill Blomkamp had his way, it would be Eminem starring in his upcoming dystopian action film instead of Matt Damon.

"That's true," Damon told Variety of the reports, but the way he sees it, "probably half of the movies I do have somebody else’s fingerprints on them. It’s the nature of the business. I’ve passed on things other actors have taken."

In a Wired magazine profile, Blomkamp explained that Eminem was actually his second choice for the project, which takes place in 2145. The lead role is an ex-con factory worker named Max who, struggling to survive on an increasingly impoverished and decrepit Earth, tries to break into the poverty-free utopian space station called "Elysium" in order to save his own life.

Envisioning a low-budget film without star power, Blomkamp initially took the part to South African artist Ninja. When he passed, the "District 9" filmmaker sought out Eminem, who was interested but wanted the film to be shot in his hometown of Detroit.

And so Blomkamp turned to Damon. But he couldn't take the Oscar winner just as he was; Damon recalls that the filmmaker was just as particular about his leading man's physique as he was about the movie's effects.

"Neill was so specific about what he wanted me to look like. He actually had a picture with my face tacked onto this guy with this body, and they literally hired me a trainer and I went to him with the picture," the 42-year-old father of four told Variety. "It was four hours a day in the gym – and I’m not 26 anymore, but I got in shape.”

In the end, even though he wasn't Blomkamp's first pick to play Max, Damon believes that he got the role he was supposed to have.

"The right actor gets the part, ultimately. In terms of me, I never asked Neill. I just found out about Eminem because I read it somewhere," Damon told MTV. "It's the kind of thing like — before I was married — asking your girlfriend about ex-boyfriends. You don't want to know, and it doesn't affect your relationship. You just get the parts you get."

Filed under: Celebrities

soundoff (22 Responses)

    mac machines are fine....doc her

    August 14, 2013 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |


    August 13, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sarcasm0

    Good for Eminem for trying to support Detroit economically. It would have been the perfect place to film it, too. It's practically a living metaphor.

    August 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinker...

      The problem with Detroit is no one can currently imagine it as an overpopluated megaslum. It would have potential in a post-apocalyptic setting since there are plenty of actually abandoned highrises and such to shoot in.

      August 14, 2013 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |

      we see all

      August 14, 2013 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. sarcasm0

    Good for Eminem for wanting to support Detroit, which would have been a perfect place to film this movie by the way.

    August 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gahh

    The 1 percent in America, has 90 percent of the US wealth, what makes anybody think it'll take until 2145 for something like this to happen? The wealthy want to keep people poor, because they think as long as people are poor, they can be controlled. One day this will really happen here, when the poor get tired of working 2 or 3 jobs, and also tired of living on minimum wage

    August 6, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Måd

    Ninja? I like Die Antwoord but can't really see him in an action movie.

    August 2, 2013 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. Maja

    It's bad timing for the Damon and his movie. Jim Carey took the high road and self banned his own movie because violence and war making is no longer palatable to Americans or the world.

    I thought District 9 was awesome when it came out and I commend South African cinema. But times have changed.
    From droning to American citizens to Sandy Hook to the Snowden affair, America is wants to get cerebral or lightly entertained these days. Who wants to see the violence and mayhem so present in reality?

    Sorry Damon, you should have let Eminem take Elysium. It suits him and you have better things to do with your time than to display violent acts of retribution against fantasy enemies.

    August 2, 2013 at 5:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      Really? What plastic bubble do you live in?

      August 5, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • anonCNN

      Maja – your comment makes perfect sense (assuming you completely ignore box office totals)

      August 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bartleby

      Sorry Maja, but Jim "Only Idiots and Evil People Disagree With Me" Carey's condemnation of "Kicka$$ 2" only made me want to see it more. He argues like a Rabid Rightist when he condemns people simply for believing differently than he does. The first one was a great movie, with a deliberately over-the-top parody of violence, and I'm really looking forward to the sequel.

      August 14, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. T

    I think he'll make a great Daredevil if they ever make a reboot of the marvel comics hero.
    He looks the part of Matthew Murdock.

    August 1, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Happily S-xed Marriages

    Matt is another guy who praises his wife all the time....I am so happy when marriages are working out ... no denial, no lies...its all good for Damon and the wife ^

    August 1, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |

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