The first photo that the world saw of Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw (out July 24) made the actor look like an entirely different person than the man last seen as a rail-thin psychopath in Nightcrawler. Bruises had replaced the dark circles on the Golden Globe nominee’s face, and every other inch of him was tatted, ripped, and muscular. This wasn’t Lou Bloom. This was light heavyweight champion Billy Hope.
That’s why it was so shocking to hear that Gyllenhaal only gained an additional 10 pounds for the boxing role. “I was just in a different kind of shape,” Gyllenhaal says, putting it mildly.
Gyllenhaal’s journey to authentic light heavyweight status began five months before cameras started to roll, when director Antoine Fuqua offered him the role. Known for his commitment to his characters, especially when it comes to the physical aspect, Gyllenhaal knew that there was only one way to convince himself and the audience.