WHEN Jake Gyllenhaal was asked to play a boxer, no one obtained it. Except Jake. Now he reveals the toll the role took on him as he confronted genuine punches in the ring.

You are watching: Southpaw movie based on true story


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“I KNOW my own anger,” states Jake Gyllenhaal, that stars as we’ve never viewed him prior to in Southpaw: muscles rippling, blood streaming and also rage raging as a human being champion boxer that loses it all. “I kbrand-new I had actually a lot to attract on.”


That may well be, but when Gyllenhaal — a pampered actor, not a expert boxer — discovered himself standing in the ring, taking actual punches in the name of art, did the assumed unexpectedly cross his mind that maybe this was a poor idea?

The 34-year-old laughs.


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“Tright here were times as soon as I was sparring, wbelow I was in the middle of it, wbelow I believed, ‘Oh God, all this stuff I learnt, it’s all out the home window, I’m simply trying to make it through here!’ I intend, I gained hit a number of times, however you’re in a different mode at that point, you’re so jacked up. When you’re shooting and there’s 750 extras and everybody’s screaming, somehow you think you’re in the actual minute ...

“So, tbelow have been times as soon as I’ve made movies wbelow I have actually believed (a movie was a bad idea), yet this one, not so much.”

What around this, then: did he ever worry that perhaps he favored hitting people a little also much?

Gyllenhaal laughs aget.

“That doesn’t worry me either.”

When it initially pulled on the gloves, around 5 or 6 years earlier, Southpaw was to be a movie automobile for Eminem. When the rapper dropped out and director Antoine “Training Day” Fuqua turned his sights to Gyllenhaal, the director reckons no one else shared his vision.


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Especially once Gyllenhaal turned up in gaunt Nightcrawler mode (he’d shed about 13kg to play a creepy ambulance chaser).

But what about Gyllenhaal — might he view himself playing Billy Hope, an orphaned child from the wrong side of the tracks turned people champ?

“Not so a lot initially,” he admits. “I expect, I thought in it, I loved the duty and also the manuscript relocated me, so a lot. But I knew that it was far amethod from me and also I knew it was gonna be a long journey in the direction of it.

“Antoine believed I might perform it, he can view somepoint in me and also ... I recognize my very own anger, I kbrand-new I had a lot to draw on. But we (Gyllenhaal and Billy) jiyuushikan.orge from incredibly various areas and also incredibly different upbringings. To move my mind and my body and every one of it right into his area was gonna be a long journey.”

(Gyllenhaal says he’s “curious” about his very own anger, but won’t pin down what especially gets his goat, various other than being stuck in traffic.)


When we initially satisfy Billy Hope in Southpaw, he’s winning fights the difficult way — absorbing blow upon blow prior to unleashing the knockout punch. But he’s winning, and with a wife (Rachel McAdams) and also child to keep in style, a posse to buy Rolex watches for and a shady promoter/manager (50 Cent) touting HBO contracts to save happy, that’s all that matters.

When that blingy life is ripped apart, promoter and posse quickly desert Billy and also he’s left figuring out how to be a father and training in a rundown regional gym with an old-institution trainer (Forest Whitaker).

Gyllenhaal’s “long journey” to uncover his personalities is, he says, “where my life gets changed”. As an instance, someone he met doing ride alongs and training drills to play a cop in 2012’s End of Watch stays “one of my finest friends”.

On Southpaw, the big change is that boxing trainer Terry Claybon “didn’t simply teach me exactly how to box, I really execute think he taught me exactly how to be a far better human,” he claims.

Gyllenhaal had actually no boxing suffer before hooking up via Claybon, but thrived up a “sporty kid” and also could “understand also the jiyuushikan.orgpetitive aspect”.

“But that had actually nopoint to carry out via me being sporty — I think I’m just jiyuushikan.orgpetitive!” he laughs. “jiyuushikan.orgpetition is something people understand also whatever before jiyuushikan.orgpany they’re in.”


He likewise associated through the performance facet of the sport: just how a fighter strapping his hands and shadow boxing before a jiyuushikan.orgplement is like a phase actor putting on his make-up and also warming up his voice.

“You regularly hear boxers — I think it’s also a line in the movie — say, ‘We provided them a great show, didn’t we?’ You don’t jiyuushikan.orge out to crazy music, being lugged by 4 human being through a king’s robe and also crown, being jiyuushikan.orgplied with by Justin Bieber, if there’s not a performance element to boxing.”

A quick Google search makes clear the major obsession via Southpaw is Gyllenhaal’s physical transformation. Or, ssuggest, how “ripped” he gained.

“All the journalists are asking me exactly how many type of sit-ups I did,” he fifty percent groans/half laughs after doing a full day of push in LA.

(If you have to know, it was 4 months of fulltime training, twice a day. With 1000 sit-ups per session.)


Being in the type of form wbelow you have the right to go 12 rounds with expert boxers brings via it a large change in perception.

See more: The Acid-Dissociation Constant For Benzoic Acid (C6H5Cooh) Is 6.3×10−5.

“When your physical and psychological instinct is honed favor that, you walk into places with a certain sort of confidence,” states Gyllenhaal. “I still carry that feeling and it’s something I think boxing has actually honed in me. It’s a beautiful sport bereason of that — not just because it gets you right into shape, yet bereason it gives you great confidence.

“I was just on Broadmeans and also I’d walk out very in a different way. Before I walked out on stage I was popping my shoulders like prior to a fight — it loosens you up, it gets you peaceful, it tunes you to your instincts.”

Yet Gyllenhaal is adamant all that physical job-related is simply the back end of a procedure he calls “generally a very analytical” one. Finding Billy affiliated rebrowsing the foster care mechanism, visiting infrastructure, watching boxing documentaries, borrowing the experiences of genuine orphans or boxers who’d confronted difficult times ... also pinpointing which exact hospital his character and also McAdams’ would certainly have actually delivered their baby in.


“A whole bunch of study and time and also backstory goes into the development of a character, bereason the even more that I do that, the even more I have obtainable in scenes,” he says.

He points out this “specificity” is particularly crucial in boxing movies, “wright here tright here are so many kind of tropes and landmines of cliche”.

The end product of this procedure is not just his gobsmacking (literally) performance on display screen, yet “hundreds and also hundreds of pages” of study.

What happens to all those reams of research once a film wraps?

“I bind my scripts with all my notes in it, then I bind all the research and also I put them, basically, in storage,” he claims. “Each among the boxes that I have, of these current movies in particular, is an suffer. I have a physical example of the moment spent, and points choose my gloves that I collect.

“I’m not right into keeping many things, but in regards to the process of making a movie, I try to keep a variety of things to remind me of the power I jiyuushikan.orgpetent.”


As Gyllenhaal alluded to, his recent occupational has been particularly memento worthy. And it’s forced doing a lot via and to his body: Hitting the beat difficult in End of Watch. Exhausting all leads as a detective in Prisoners. Losing the weight and mastering a coyote prowl in Nightcrawler. Climbing a mountainside in -30 degrees in following month’s Everemainder.

After a run prefer that, is he all set to execute somepoint wbelow he simply sits behind a desk for the duration of a film?

“Naaaaah.” He laughs. “No, I mean, it depends. It depends on exactly how a lot it moves me, you know? If it moves me sitting behind a desk, then I’ll sit behind a desk ... AND I’LL RESEARCH THE S--- OUT OF THAT DESK.”