The new MGM has put the roar back into "Southpaw," a gritty boxing drama that will star rapper Eminem in his first major movie role since the acclaimed 2002 drama "8 Mile," according to a source.
It will be distributed through Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The story of a left-handed boxer, written by Eminem and "Sons of Anarchy" creator Kurt Sutter, will be directed by Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day"). It had previously been set up at DreamWorks, but that company put it into turnaround in August. Since then, the picture has been considered by a number of other studios and producers.
MGM and Sony declined to comment.
The movie, expected to start production early next year, is being produced by Alan and Peter Riche, along with Paul Rosenberg and Stuart Parr of Eminem's Shady Films. Eminem's manager David Schiff will be an executive producer. The rapper is repped by ICM.
The picture tells the story of a welterweight boxer who, despite being left-handed, becomes a champion, but then tragedy strikes. He has to make a comeback in his life and in the ring.
Eminem, a native of the mean streets of Detroit, has said that he sees the story as analogous to his own life, in that he has had to fight for what he has achieved. Some reports have said he considers this a natural progression from "8 Mile," in which he co-starred with the late Brittany Murphy, about a working-class rapper who rises from the streets to find success. That movie won Eminem a surprising amount of praise from critics and grossed more than $240 million worldwide.
Since then, the rapper has continued his music career and has been rumored to be in a number of movies, none of which came to fruition. He did do a few cameos, including parts in the movie "Funny People" and the HBO series "Entourage."