The sports drama Southpaw stars Jake Gyllenhaal as welterweight champion Billy Hope, a boxer who realizes that despite his accomplishments in the ring, he’s lost what matters to him the most, as his personal life is in shambles. As he works to reclaim his professional success, Hope also fights to win back something more valuable than any title—the affection of his young daughter.
Director Antoine Fuqua asked Gyllenhaal to add 15 pounds of muscle to portray the pro boxer, and the actor bulked up for the role—following his strikingly thin, gaunt look in Nighcrawler. His physical transformation is shocking to see and the subject of considerable buzz.
Gyllenhaal’s training helped him develop certain mental skills, which he says will be beneficial to him in the future. He talked about the experience in an interview with Extra, saying, “As you learn the skills, that stuff just happens in your mind and in your body.”
Also starring in the movie: Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes franchise); Naomie Harris (Skyfall); boxer-turned-actor Victor Ortiz; Gotham’s Clare Foley; rapper/actor 50 Cent; and veteran actor Forest Whitaker, whose recent work includes Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
Antoine Fuqua is best known for helming the popular action dramas Training Day and The Equalizer.
The screenplay was written by Kurt Sutter, known for TV dramas The Shield and Sons of Anarchy.
Southpaw is expected to be released in 2015.