Eminem has landed a knock-out blow to the Detroit economy with the announcement that he will be delaying the major production of a Michigan-based boxing film, in which he was set to star. The rapper has decided to put music first.

The rapper had signed-on to star as an embattled welterweight boxer in the film, Southpaw. But the production withdrew its application for $8.9 million in Michigan film incentives, according to the Detroit Free Press. It was estimated to spend more than $30 million in Michigan.

“He’s focusing on his music right now, so while he’s doing that, while he’s in that space, he wanted to put this on hold for the time being,” said Eminem spokesman Dennis Dennehy.

While the state will have to wait on the 200 crew jobs and 9,000 extra opportunities outlined in the application, there still is a chance that the production will be on after Eminem completes his music.

“What I’m told is when the film does get made, the plan is that the bulk of it will be shot in Michigan. That was always the understanding,” said Dennehy.

Antoine Fuqua reportedly signed on as director of the MGM film. If made, Southpaw could mark Eminem’s return to a silver screen in a starring role. His last lead role was as Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith in the Detroit-based 8 Mile (2002).

While Dennehy said music was Eminem’s current focus, it is unclear what project he is working on or when it will be released.

–E. Parker, CBS Local

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