Damn! Jake Gyllenhaall is completely ripped in this first photo from his upcoming boxing film, Southpaw. This is the complete opposite from the character he played in his last movie, Nightcrawler, in which he played a nocturnal adrenaline junkie camera man. He looked sickly thin that movie, and now he’s looking like he could kick anyone’s ass! He’s a freakin’ beast! Apparently he gained fifteen pounds of pure muscle to play this role.
Gyllenhaal plays Junior Middleweight Champion Billy “The Great” Hope, who is a "lefty champ who loses everything in a personal tragedy and is forced to fight his way to redemption." The movie is being directed by Antoine Fuqua, and this is what he said about Gyllenhaall in an interview with Deadline:
“I’m so pumped, man. Jake is going to change how people see him. I had him training twice a day in the boxing ring, he did two-a-days seven days a week. I pretty much had him with me and my trainer every day. I took him to almost every fight. I had him train at Floyd Mayweather’s gym in Vegas and we watched Floyd’s fights, and the Manny Pacquiao fight. He trained in New York at Church Gym with real fighters. We literally turned him into a beast… Jake, my god, he’s a very electric, powerful fighter in this movie, and a guy who fights for his daughter. I’m confident that this will change how people see Jake, as a leading man.
“He sure has grown up. I love this guy. I met Jake years ago before he did End of Watch, and I saw something in him. I told him he needed to do more masculine films because I could see he had this power in him, and good size, and great expressive eyes. When I met him I said, ‘You’ve got to start doing that.’ And I watched him start. Working with him was a great experience because he’s so committed and gives his heart. You’re going to see in this movie, how far he has come. I asked this guy from day one, ‘I need you in the gym every day. I need you to train every day.’ And I said, ‘The word is sacrifice.’
“Literally. I think he broke up with his girlfriend because he was just in the gym every day. He was training like a fighter. I had him sparring, really getting hit. I put him in situations where I wanted to see what he was made of. No one but fighters understand the sacrifice it takes to be a fighter.”
I can’t wait to see this. I’ve been a fan of Gyllenhaal for a long time, and it’s been cool to see him grow as an actor over the years. I loved him in Nightcrawler, and I’m hoping this one will be just as amazing.