One day in the not so distant future, Jake Gyllenhaal will have to make some room at home for an Academy Award. After seeing his last few performances and knowing the discipline and devotion he puts into his roles, I am convinced that he is on his way to becoming an Oscar winner. Last year we saw him in Nightcrawler as a psychotic ambulance chasing cameraman and now he takes the punches in Southpaw as a prizefighting boxer who loses everything and rises from his deepest despair to live life to the fullest once again.
Gyllenhaal spent five months training both physically and psychologically to play boxer Billy Hope. He says it was one the hardest roles he's ever had to prepare for but he was intent on giving it everything he had. The 34-year old actor is proud of his performance and didn't take his bulking up lightly. Gyllenhaal says he's now got a whole new respect for boxers. Putting your body through all that pain and gain is a total commitment and sacrifice but it's something he isn't prepared to do again any time soon.
From acclaimed director Antoine Fuqua (TRAINING DAY) and screenwriter Kurt Sutter (“Sons of Anarchy”), SOUTHPAW tells the riveting story of Billy "The Great" Hope, reigning Light Heavyweight 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.
Next up we will see Jake face adversity climbing for his life in Everest which is set to open the upcoming Venice film festival. The film is based on the real events of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster which led to the deaths of several climbers.
I spoke with Jake Gyllenhaal during a promotional stop for Southpaw in Toronto where we discussed his strong work ethic, how he got into the mindset of playing this character and his soft spot for the city of Toronto.
Southpaw hits theatres on July 24th