Did you know that 'Southpaw' was originally written for Eminem? It's true! In a YouTube interview with Jake Gyllenhaal and Eminem hosted by Joe Levy called, "The Southpaw Sessions Round One With Eminem and Jake Gyllenhaal" Joe Levy brings to light that the film was actually inspired by Eminem's life.
In the interview Eminem talks about how the script had been in development since 2010 and it wasn't until Kurt Sutter, the writer of Sons of Anarchy, came on board that the film seemed possible. He goes on to explain how the film was to be about his life with him coming up as a boxer as a metaphor. This makes sense since Eminem told Anderson Cooper in a sixty minutes interview, "you know, not to sound corny or nothing but I felt like a fighter coming up". He even referenced that it was his first stadium concert where he was sober where he would promote his newest album Recovery based on a hard battle with drug addiction that nearly killed him. He had too teach himself how to write again and rap again and did so through the making of the album which features his most likely best known song 'I'm Not Afraid'.
Unfortunately by the time the script became producible, Eminem did not have the time in his busy schedule to play the role. Having loved the script he wanted to stay on and instead was the writer/singer and executive producer of the Southpaw soundtrack. He wrote two songs for the film called, "Kings Never Die" and "Phenomenal".
Joe Levy then turned to Jake and asked how he came onto the project. Jake replied that he and the director of the film, Antoine Fuqua, had had a "very Hollywood" lunch meeting five years prior. Antoine told Jake that he saw something in him that no one had seen before which Jake thought was [email protected] That was until Antoine had picked up their conversation where they left off a year later. He said I told you I saw something inside of you and I want to bring it out of you.
Though Eminem could not take the roll he sent Antoine the beat for the song Phenomenal which was put in the trailer before Eminem had had a chance to write the lyrics. He saw the trailer two days later and realized he needed to write fast in order for the song to be used in future trailers and the film itself. Eminem was grateful to be a part of such an emotional and heart wrenching script as he spoke in the interview about how much he loves comeback stories. Though his life is not one hundred percent accurately reflected in the film, much of his real life can be seen throughout the movie including the relationship between Billy Hope and his daughter.
The boxing is metaphorical but the intense emotion is a tell tale sign of Eminem's real life struggle to get back on top and put the pieces of his life back together.