How Did Matt Damon Feel Stepping In For Eminem In ‘Elysium’?

Oscar winner was third choice, behind Detriot rapper, for lead in new sci-fi film from 'District 9' director.

For A-list stars like Matt Damon, it’s easy to assume they get first stab at the best roles in Hollywood. But more often than not, they’re the second choice. And sometimes … they’re the third choice — behind Eminem.

That was the fate of Matt Damon who scored the lead in “Elysium.” In a Wired profile of Neill Blomkamp, the “District 9″ director retold the story of how he cast his new movie.

The “Elysium” director first approached Ninja of the South African band Die Antwoord and then Eminem, back when the budget was closer to the more modest $30 million of “District 9″ (the final price tag is closer to $100 million). When both of the musicians passed, Blomkamp turned to Damon, who eventually signed on.

The Internet had a field day with that bit of trivia, so when MTV News’ Josh Horowitz recently sat down with Damon, he asked how the actor reacted when he found out about his stiff competition. But according to Damon, being a second or, even third, choice isn’t that odd of an occurrence.

“I don’t even think [Eminem] was my competition. I think Neill went to him, so there was no competition,” Damon said. “He got the offer, but that’s probably 75 percent of the things that I do — somebody else got the offer before — that’s kind of the nature of the business. I think you end up getting the part you’re supposed to get. The right actor gets the part, ultimately. In terms of me, I never asked Neill. I just found out about Eminem because I read it somewhere.”

When Damon finally did hear about Eminem and the version of the August 9 sci-fi flick that almost was, it didn’t faze him because of a lesson he knew from his previous relationships.

“I think Neill called him, and he passed, and then Neill called me,” the actor elaborated. “It’s not like they bring us all in for the cattle call: ‘Goddamn it, Clooney’s here! I knew it.’ It’s the kind of thing like — before I was married — asking your girlfriend about ex-boyfriends. You don’t want to know, and it doesn’t affect your relationship. You just get the parts you get.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Elysium”


Writer/editor for MTV. If it involves cowboys, spies, or hitmen, I'm there. All three would be ideal.
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