Antoine Fuqua and Eminem’s Boxing Drama ‘Southpaw’ Hits a Stumbling Block

A couple months back it was reported that in between will-he-won’t-he work sessions on his often talked about, never produced Tupac Shakur biopic, Training Day director Antoine Fuqua would be making a boxing drama called Southpaw starring rapper turned occasional actor Eminem. The film was said to be about a lower class welterweight boxer struggling through drama in his daily life and boxing career on the way to greatness. It had a script by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter that was loosely based on Eminem’s own rise in the rap world, it was financially back by DreamWorks, and it was all set to start shooting in January. Sound like smooth sailing right? Not so fast.

Suddenly DreamWorks has pulled out of the project and left it back in the hands of its creators to shop around to other studios for funding. Deadline River Rouge reports the studio’s decision, but doesn’t have anything to offer other than speculation as to why they may have backed out. It’s strange for a studio to drop a project like this that already has script, star, and director packaged up and ready to go. Theoretically, Fuqua and company should be able to find somebody else to set them up pretty quick, seeing as most of the heavily lifting has already been done and all they need is some funding. And I hope that’s true, because I just don’t want to live in a world where the entertainment industry’s preeminent white rapper can’t get a movie made.

Unless perhaps there’s some sort of sinister reason why DreamWorks backed out not involving concerns about a crowded fight movie market, or something as benign as budget crunching. Maybe they’ve got word on a scandal that Fuqua is doing spy work for a terrorist cell. Or maybe Eminem is about to be implicated in some sort of salacious, cross-dressing sex scandal that will embarrass the higher ups. Sometimes I really wish I worked for a trashy Hollywood gossip site. They get to have all the fun.

Weaned on the genre films of the 80s. Reared by the independent movement of the 90s. Earned a BA for writing stuff in the 00s. Reviews current releases at

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