If you saw the excellent Nightcrawler, you’ll know that Jake Gyllenhaal lost weight to play the sunken, ghoulish Louis Bloom. Now, for his next cinematic trick, he’s piled on pounds of muscle and become a brawler for Southpaw, the story of a boxer who must fight not only his opponents, but to hold on to his life as it starts to fall apart.
Gyllenhaal is Billy Hope, the reigning junior middleweight boxing champ whose trademark “Southpaw” stance is a brutal, powerful style of fighting. He’s driven by an ever-present need for fame, money and love even while blessed with a wonderful family in Rachel McAdams as his wife Maureen and Clare Foley as daughter Alice. But then tragedy strikes and he faces losing everything. He’ll have to start punching his weight, and not just in the ring. Can he make a comeback?
Hope is a role that was originally written – by Sons Of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter – with Eminem in mind. But it’s since been through a punishing bout in development hell, swapped studios, lost the rapper, who decided to focus on his music, and had The Equalizer director Antoine Fuqua climb aboard. He brought that movie’s writer, Richard Wenk, on to take a fresh crack at the script and Gyllenhaal stepped into the ring.
From the looks of this, Fuqua has gone all out in the fighting scenes and hired a capable cast that also includes Forest Whitaker, Naomie Harris, Tyrese Gibson and Beau Knapp to handle the rest. The film will hit UK cinemas on July 31.