Here is the result of Jake Gyllenhaal’s hard work transforming his body into Junior Middleweight champ Billy “The Great” Hope for Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw, the Kurt Sutter- and Richard Wenk-scripted pic that the Weinstein Company will release July 31. Gyllenhaal dropped jaws in November when the first photo from the movie was released, showing he had gained 15 pounds of pure muscle to leave his Nightcrawler character — for which he earned a Golden Globe nom — well in the rearview mirror.
The first trailer shows the effort will be worth it: The tale of a champ who loses everything in a personal tragedy and is forced to fight his way to redemption looks perfectly gritty and rough around the edges, hallmarks you’d expect from a Sutter (Sons Of Anarchy) and Fuqua (Training Day) tie-up. Then throw in a fully committed Gyllenhaal and co-stars Rachael McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Rita Ora, Naomie Harris, Beau Knapp and Victor Ortiz. There’s also Miguel Gomez, who for me steals scenes in Guillermo del Toro’s FX vampire series The Strain.
Does this first look suggest Southpaw belongs in the ring with those great fighter movies like Raging Bull, The Boxer, The Fighter or The Hurricane?