When we last saw Jake Gyllenhaal on screen, he wasn’t looking too hot, going gaunt to play a sociopathic reporter in Dan Gilroy’s excellent Nightcrawler, and this summer will find the actor transforming yet again, as he bulks up to play a battered boxer in Southpaw. A new trailer for the Antoine Fuqua-directed drama has cast further light on the story, and if the compelling look given here is indicative of the film as a whole, Gyllenhaal could be duking it out with the best of them in this year’s awards race.
In Southpaw, Gyllenhaal’s fighter, Billy Hope, endures punishment in and out of the ring, as his massively successful career is shattered by the murder of his loving wife (Rachel McAdams). Falling into despair, the boxer loses his grip professionally and personally, leaving child protective services to take his daughter (Oona Laurence) away from him. Desperate to reclaim his life, Billy begins to train under tough-as-nails trainer Tick Willis (Forest Whitaker). It’s all presented as a gritty and gripping drama, anchored by what looks to be another powerhouse performance from Gyllenhaal.
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Clare Foley, Miguel Gomez, Victor Ortiz, Rita Ora and Naomie Harris all co-star in the pic, which has been set to open July 24. It warranted inclusion on my list of the top 10 must-see movies of the summer outside of the traditional blockbuster circuit, and by the looks of it, Southpaw will certainly be well-worth the price of admission.
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.