As of late, Jake Gyllenhaal has become one of the best actors in Hollywood. His roles and movies are diverse and he steps his game up every single time. With Prisoners, Enemy, and now Nightcrawler all on his resume, what’s out there that this guy can’t do? For his next role, he’s boxer Billy Hope in Southpaw, which is directed by Antoine Fuqua. You can check out the first image and some words on Gyllenhaal from director Fuqua below.
For his last (and unfreakingbelievable) movie Nightcrawler, Gyllenhaal lost 30 pounds to play to the crazy Lou Bloom. But for Southpaw, he has put that weight back on and then some, all in muscle. He looks almost unrecognizable as Billy Hope, which is a great sign and shows his true commitment. Check it out:
His director, Antoine Fuqua, talked about Gyllenhaal’s transformation and dedication to the role, as well as how people should look at Gyllenhaal.
“Two people have done this in their lives, Robert De Niro in Raging Bull and Denzel Washington in The Hurricane. Those kinds of guys are rare.”
“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.”
“Jake’s a man now. There’s something in his eyes that people don’t see. He’s got anger in him.”
That’s some very high praise, but for, at least, I’ve always felt that way about him. There hasn’t been anything that I haven’t like him in. His resume is pretty damn good, but maybe Fuqua is just talking about Gyllenhaal taking it to a whole different level this time around. Because a comparison to De Niro and Washington is some damn high praise.
Southpaw has no set release date yet. Directed by Antoine Fuqua starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Victor Ortiz, 50 Cent, and Clare Foley.