Harvey Weinstein and stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams were among the big names on hand at tonight’s New York premiere of the boxing pic Southpaw. The crowd at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square on Broadway gave a rousing reception to the film about a champion fighter who has it all before a family tragedy threatens everything. The screening went off without director Antoine Fuqua, who was on the set of his next film, The Magnificent Seven. But Fuqua threw the crowd a bone with a video appearance. The hook: Right behind him was the cast of his remake, including Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington, Matt Bomer and others — all in costume, some on horseback.
Eminem, who originally was approached to star in the Gyllenhaal role of champion boxer Billy Hope, was at the premiere will fellow rapper-actor 50 Cent, who plays the fighter’s hotshot manager. Eminem, who won a Best Song Oscar for “Lose Yourself” from 2002’s 8 Mile, wrote and performs “Phenomenal,” the key track for the new film. As for a faraway spot on musical spectrum, Weinstein noted in introducing Southpaw that the film is dedicated to composer James Horner, who died in a plane crash last month.
Coming off his acclaimed star turn in last year’s Nightcrawler, Gyllenhaal had to pack on 30 pounds for the role — mostly muscle — and spent five months of daily training as he learned how to box. Weinstein predicted at the Cannes Film Festival back in May that Gyllenhaal would score an Oscar nom for the role.
Also at tonight’s screening were Victor Ortiz, the former real-life world champion fighter who acts in the film; Miguel Gomez, who plays Hope’s ring rival Miguel “Magic” Cantu; Oona Laurence, who stars as the young daughter Hope battles to win back from Child Protective Services; and Naomie Harris, who plays the girl’s social worker. Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, who co-stars as Hope’s trainer, missed the event.
Southpaw opens wide Friday.