Whoa! Jake Gyllenhaal has completely transformed himself once again, this time as boxer Billy Hope in upcoming flick Southpaw. In the first photo released by the studio, the actor’s seriously pumped-up muscles are on full display as he clenches his fists in the boxing ring to portray the championship prize fighter.
“Jake is going to change how people see him,” director Antoine Fuqua said in a recent interview with Deadline. “I had him training twice a day in the boxing ring, he did two-a-days seven days a week. 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… I’m confident that this will change how people see Jake, as a leading man.”
The Brokeback Mountain star, who underwent a drastically different transformation for Nightcrawler — losing 25 pounds — dedicated so much time to the role that it affected his personal life. “Literally, I think he broke up with his girlfriend [model Alyssa Miller] because he was just in the gym every day,” Fuqua said of Gyllenhaal’s most recent ex. “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.”
Southpaw follows Gyllenhaal — and his 15-pounds of new muscle — as Billy “The Great” Hope, a lefty champ who loses everything in a personal tragedy and is forced to fight his way to redemption.
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