The shocking first photo from the film shows a ripped, shirtless Gyllenhaal in the ring and looking ready to fight. The actor takes on the role of Billy Hope, a boxer who fights his way to the top of his sport, only to find his life falling apart around him.
Southpaw also stars True Detective's Rachel McAdams, Naomie Harris, Rita Ora, Victor Ortiz, Forest Whitaker and 50 Cent. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) directs the drama and told Deadline he was quite impressed with Gyllenhaal's performance.
"Jake is going to change how people see him. I had him training twice a day in the boxing ring, he did two-a-days seven days a week," he revealed. "I pretty much had him with me and my trainer every day. I took him to almost every fight. I had him train at Floyd Mayweather’s gym in Vegas and we watched Floyd’s fights, and the Manny Pacquiao fight. He trained in New York at Church Gym with real fighters. We literally turned him into a beast."
Fugua even added that the workouts may have affected the 33-year-old actor's personal life. "Literally. I think he broke up with his girlfriend because he was just in the gym every day," the director said. “He was training like a fighter. I had him sparring, really getting hit. I put him in situations where I wanted to see what he was made of. No one but fighters understand the sacrifice it takes to be a fighter.”