It’s a fairly mind-blowing prospect, but, yes, it appears that Eminem is preparing to play Orthodox Ukrainian-born Jewish boxer, Dmitriy Salita, in an upcoming Disney film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The working title: “Knockout.”
In an email, Salita — who I profiled recently for the Forward — provided a few more details about the project.
Over seven years ago, Bruckheimer bought the rights to a film about Salita’s life up to the age of 19 (when he won the New York Golden Gloves). Salita and his trainer, Jimmy O, were then contacted by Gregory Allan Howard, a screenwriter who wrote “Remember the Titans,” the 2000 Denzel Washington film about a high school football coach who integrated an all white team in the early 1970s. Howard was building a script around a newspaper article in the Washington Post that described Salita’s turn towards religion and his relationship with his trainer.
Salita says the script was finished last year and the details are now being finalized by Disney.
As for Eminem, he trained a few years ago in Detroit with Emmanuel Steward, Salita’s current trainer, and as far as Salita knows, he is still slated to play him in the film.
The original title was “Golden Boy,” but Salita said it was recently changed to “Knockout.”
Gal Beckerman was a staff writer and then the Forward’s opinion editor until 2014. He was previously an assistant editor at the Columbia Journalism Review where he wrote essays and media criticism. His book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review and Bookforum. His first book, “When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry,” won the 2010 National Jewish Book Award and the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, as well as being named a best book of the year by The New Yorker and The Washington Post. Follow Gal on Twitter at @galbeckerman
Eminem Will Play Dmitriy Salita in Upcoming Bruckheimer Film