Jake Gyllenhaal won’t be going into the ring alone for his upcoming boxing drama Southpaw, as last week, Naomie Harris and Beau Knapp both joined the Antoine Fuqua-directed film, which was penned by Sons of Anarchy writer creator Kurt Sutter.
Southpaw centers on a troubled fighter with dreams of becoming a welterweight champion, whose personal life crumbles even as his career soars. Harris will play Angela, a social worker who works with Gyllenhaal’s character and his daughter. With roles as Moneypenny in Skyfall and Winnie Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom under her belt, Harris’ star is rising fast with no signs of slowing down. That Harris has boarded the project likely means that Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, previously in talks for the same role, has dropped out of talks.
For his part, Knapp, who had a major role in The Signal earlier this year, will play Jon Jon, Gyllenhaal’s fighter’s lifelong best friend who came up with him through foster care and is on the payroll.
Also in the cast are Forest Whitaker, playing the fighter’s mentor, a former boxer himself, and Rachel McAdams, taking on the part of a love interest for Gyllenhaal’s protagonist. According to IMDb, smaller roles have been filled by Victor Ortiz, Miguel Gomez, 50 Cent and Clare Foley.
Gyllenhaal has been on the rise lately with incredible performances in Prisoners and Enemy, and the actor’s upcoming slate looks to be filled with equally impressive work. He’ll next be seen as an emaciated crime journalist in Nightcrawler. Then, Gyllenhaal will be teaming with 2 Guns director Baltasar Kormákur for the adventure epic Everest, acting alongside Robin Wright, Keira Knightley, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington, Emily Watson and Jason Clarke.
Southpaw should, like those titles, give the actor a great opportunity to extend his dramatic range. No release date has been set just yet, but we’ll keep you posted.