If you mixed “Rocky” with Eminem, maybe you’d get Antoine Fuqua’s “Southpaw.” When screenwriter Kurt Sutter first set out to write a boxing drama, it was intended originally as a starring vehicle for rapper. Fast forward a few years and everything’s changed, Eminem is back to music and Jake Gyllenhaal is in the lead. But the gritty, down-and-out spirit of the story is still there. And the actor, last seen playing an emaciated sociopath in “Nightcrawler,” underwent a similarly dramatic physical transformation to get into character.
“You can’t play a boxer and just look like a boxer,” Gyllenhaal told EW of the pounds he put on and the physical regime he endured to nail the part. “You have to believe that you can exist in that world.” So the film is about a down-and-out boxer who has to overcome a huge tragedy in his life and keep boxing in order to feed his family. Here’s the synopsis:
From acclaimed director Antoine Fuqua (TRAINING DAY) and screenwriters Kurt Sutter (“Sons of Anarchy”) and Richard Wenk (THE MECHANIC), SOUTHPAW tells the riveting story of Billy “The Great” Hope, reigning Junior Middleweight Boxing Champion of the World (Academy Award® nominee Jake Gyllenhaal). Billy Hope seemingly has it all with an impressive career, a beautiful and loving wife (Rachel McAdams), an adorable daughter (Oona Laurence) and a lavish lifestyle. When tragedy strikes and his lifelong manager and friend (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) leaves him behind, Hope hits rock bottom and turns to an unlikely savior at a run-down local gym: Tick Willis (Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker), a retired fighter and trainer to the city’s toughest amateur boxers. With his future riding on Tick’s guidance and tenacity, Billy enters the hardest battle of his life as he struggles with redemption and to win back the trust of those he loves.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua (“The Equalizer”) and co-starring Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Clare Foley, Miguel Gomez, Victor Ortiz, Rita Ora, and Naomie Harris, “Southpaw” is due in theaters July 24. Watch the latest trailer below.