The Weinstein Company has announced a July 31 release date for their boxing drama Southpaw, which stars a heavily transformed Jake Gyllenhaal. The actor, having dropped 25 pounds for his most recent turn in the thriller Nightcrawler, bulked up for the role of Billy “The Great” Hope, a middleweight champion who suffers a tragedy and finds his life falling apart around him.
Gyllenhaal reportedly trained seven days a week to beef up for his role as the troubled pugilist, gaining 15 pounds of solid muscle working with director Antoine Fuqua’s (The Equalizer) trainer. Gyllenhaal also trained with real fighters at Church Gym in New York, and studied the moves of boxers Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. He joins a long tradition of actors who have transformed their bodies for their roles, including Robert De Niro, Christian Bale, and Matthew McConaughey.
Fuqua directs from a script by Kurt Sutter (TV’s Sons of Anarchy). Gyllenhaal is joined in the cast by Rachel McAdams (Wedding Crashers) and Oscar winners Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) and Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave).