Southpaw is looking to be this summer’s knockout hit. The film, which releases on July 22nd, stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Billy Hope, a championship boxer at the end of his once-glorious career.
And while the boxing flick also stars Rachel McAdams and Forrest Whitaker, it’s Gyllenhaal that has stolen the front page headlines, due in large part to an extreme conditioning program. For the role of Hope, Gyllenhaal had to completely transform himself into a boxing machine. A daily regimen would consist of 1,000 sit-ups, 100 pull-ups, running eight milles, and other intense high-energy workouts to get himself into peak physical condition.
As a result, Gyllenhaal gained 15 lbs of muscle, and has never looked better.
“Antoine (Fuqua, the director) and I both knew that many people had made boxing films, some extraordinarily successful over the years. So there’s a standard that had been set, “ Gyllenhaal told People Magazine.
Despite the actors immense dedication to the role, he wasn’t the films first choice. Rapper turned actor, Marshall Mathers (Eminem), was originally slated to play the lead, but left the project in March of 2014. Film Screenwriter Kurt Sutter explained to MTV News that the original script was based with Mathers in mind.
“I love that the title refers to Marshall being a lefty, which is to boxing what a white rapper is to hip-hop; dangerous, unwanted, and completely unorthodox.”
Mathers hasn’t completely given up on Southpaw. He released a new single titled, ‘Phenomenal’ which is based on the film. The track follows closely to the rappers other movie based single ‘Lose Yourself’ because of its high energy, inspiring lyrics.
In addition to the single, Mathers is also executive producing the films soundtrack.
Southpaw is shaping up to be quite a heavy hitter. Jake Gyllenhaal is one of Hollywood’s most underappreciated actors, and this role might be his chance at join the heavyweight class of actors.
Mathers is pure musical genius, and the film’s soundtrack will provide the perfect companion to the boxing flick. With Gyllenhaal and Mathers on board it’s a true 1-2 punch for the film, and will undoubtedly score big on the critics scorecards.