Cannes Film Festival chief (and judo black belt) Thierry Frémaux, hosted a private screening of Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw here last night with star Jake Gyllenhaal turning up for the event. The Weinstein Co boxing picture had been in talks for the Official Selection, but was then agreed to be held back after its star was picked to serve on the jury. Harvey Weinstein showed footage at TWC’s annual preview event early in the festival. TWC releases domestically on July 24.
Gyllenhaal plays Junior Middleweight champ Billy “The Great” Hope who loses everything in a personal tragedy and is forced to fight his way to redemption. The actor transformed himself physically for the picture, dropping jaws when the first photo was released last year. Rachael McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Rita Ora, Naomie Harris, Beau Knapp and Victor Ortiz co-star in the Kurt Sutter- and Richard Wenk-scripted pic.
Frémaux, who is a keen sports enthusiast, last night praised the movie’s ability to capture boxing so beautifully. “This sport is so well-filmed on television that it’s very hard to get the same feeling in the cinema on screen like Martin Scorsese did with Raging Bull. But this film is so strong and credible. We believe Jake is a boxer first. When I was watching the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather fight, I remembered the movie. Jake is very extraordinary. Film after film he is having quite a career and this film is to me maybe one of his best.”
Also in attendance at the screening last night were Adrian Brody, Antonio Banderas, Michelle Rodriguez, and Dita Von Teese; as well as Charli XCX and Mary J. Blige who’d just performed at the amfAR charity event on Thursday.