There has been no lack of effort by Hollywood to cash in on games when they’re hot and get them made into movies, TV series, and miniseries. It should come as little surprise that Grand Theft Auto was also a target. In fact, we apparently could have had a GTA movie that starred Eminem and involving Top Gun director Tony Scott. However, it was not meant to be, as State of Emergency and Earthworm Jim 3D developer Kirk Ewing recently revealed.
Ewing was recently a guest on the BBC podcast Bugzy Malone’s Grandest Game. It was here that Grand Theft Auto’s impact on the industry was discussed, as well as a particular story about movie offers for the game. Having been friends with Rockstar Games leads Dan and Sam Houser as Grand Theft Auto 3 came out and sent the popularity of the franchise skyrocketing, Ewing recalled that Rockstar received many offers for movie deals, but one in particular stood out.
Apparently, one Hollywood executive called at 4 a.m. with a prominent offer for Rockstar.
“He said, 'Kirk we've got Eminem to star, and it's a Tony Scott film [director of Top Gun and True Romance]. $5 million on the nose. Are you interested?',” Ewing claimed. “And I phoned up Sam and I said, 'Listen to this. They want Eminem in the Grand Theft Auto movie and Tony Scott to direct'.”
Sam Houser declined. Reportedly, the reason behind turning it down was that Rockstar Games was realizing just what they had on their hands with Grand Theft Auto and the potential for it to be bigger than movies or TV.
“They realized that the media franchise that they had was bigger than any movie that was going on at the time,” Ewing added.
Indeed, Eminem would actually be involved in Grand Theft Auto in a different way years later. He’s a guest contributor on one of the new Dr. Dre tracks featured in recent Grand Theft Auto Online expansion The Contract. The Grand Theft Auto series has featured all sorts of other star talent throughout the years as well, including Ray Liotta as Tommy Vercetti in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
It's hard to imagine what a Grand Theft Auto movie would have been given the scope of the games, but it’s also hard to argue that Rockstar was wrong. With Grand Theft Auto 6 somewhere on the horizon and being one of the most anticipated games in development right now, it will be interesting to see how Rockstar pushes the depths of its franchise in the latest entry. One thing is for sure; GTA is big enough that it wouldn’t be surprising to see talent like Eminem and Tony Scott show up somewhere down the line.
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