When you head over to your local movie theater to check out Neill Blonkamp's new film, Elysium, next month, here's something to keep in mind: The film, which stars Matt Damon in the lead role, could have gone a very different direction if Blomkamp's original plans had worked out. In a new profile in Wired to promote the film, Blomkamp revealed that Damon was hardly his first choice to headline the film—and that he first approached two very different celebrities to take on the role before meeting with Damon.
Those celebrities: Ninja of the South African rap-rave band Die Antwoord, and none other than Eminem.
The profile explains:
"...he initially approached Ninja, of the outlandish South African rap-rave crew Die Antwoord, to play the lead in what would have been a much lower-budget version of Elysium. A South African countercultural icon, Ninja didn’t want his first screen role to be an American-accented character in such a high-profile film. ('It was a fucked-up, difficult decision,' says the musician, who has a d9 inner-lip tattoo to prove his devotion to his favorite movie.) Blomkamp subsequently approached a bigger-name white rapper, Eminem, who was interested but only if the shoot took place in his hometown of Detroit."
It's weird to think that Eminem and Matt Damon (and Ninja of Die Antwoord, for that matter) were, at one point, up for the same exact role—like, no respectable casting agent ever would consider them similar types—but this isn't the first time the two have been compared by casting agents.
Another fun fact for your Hollywood trivia nights or whatever: Back in 2011, The Fighter producer David Hoberman revealed to the LA Times that the lead role of Micky Ward, eventually given to Mark Wahlberg, was actually first written for Eminem during the development process. Then, Matt Damon was offered the role of Micky's half-brother, Dicky Eklund, that eventually went to Christian Bale. Later, when Wahlberg took the role as Micky, Eminem was again considered as a possible addition to the cast—this time for the role of Dicky.
So, basically, the two have been duking it out (kind of) when it comes to move roles for years, and UOENO. Mind blown?