The Weinstein Company has released the first image of Jake Gyllenhall in the upcoming boxing film Southpaw from an exclusive with Deadline. The image shows the Nightcrawler actor has clearly gone through an intense training and diet to match the physique of Billy “The Great” Hope, a champ fighter who battles his way back to the top despite undergoing immense tragedy.
Gyllenhall reportedly gained 15 pounds of pure muscle for the upcoming film after he lost 25 for his role as the sociopathic journalist in Nightcrawler (which you can see our discussion of here), currently in theaters. Gyllenhall joins big star names like Robert De Niro, Christian Bale and Will Smith who all put on the muscle for their big movies. It was recently announced that Forest Whitaker will play Hope’s coach Titus ‘Tick’ Williams. Oscar-winner Lupita Nyon’go and Rachel McAdams will also star in the film.
Antoine Fuqua (Olympus Has Fallen, Training Day) is directing the film. He hasn’t helmed sports movie before but Southpaw is expected to have a balance between life and sports, similar to David O. Russell’s The Fighter. Fuqua recently directed the surprise hit, The Equalizer starring Denzel Washington.
No release date has been announced, but with The Weinstein Company backing the film and the awards history of boxing films like The Fighter, Raging Bull, Cinderella Man, and Rocky, it’s safe to assume this will get a theatrical run during next year’s awards season. The Weinstein Company recently earned five Independent Spirit Award nominations for Nightcrawler.