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Jake Gyllenhaal’s ‘Southpaw’ Transformation Is Truly Astonishing

Open Road Films

When actors transform for a role, we take notice (and most of the time, so does that little golden statue named Oscar). Christian Bale in ‘The Machinist,’ Matthew McConaughey in ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ Charlize Theron in ‘Monster,’ Christian Bale in the ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy, etc. Jake Gyllenhaal recently joined the club when he dropped 25 pounds to play the sociopathic Lou Bloom in ‘Nightcrawler,’ and now he’s at it again with his incredible transformation for his next film, Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Southpaw.’

Deadline obtained the first image of Gyllenhaal from Fuqua’s upcoming boxing film, and the photo is kind of breathtaking, particularly if you’ve seen ‘Nightcrawler.’ Gyllenhaal went from looking very thin (almost underweight, even) in that film, where he lost 25 pounds for the highly unnerving role, into ‘Southpaw,’ where he had to put on 15 pounds of pure muscle to play a boxer. The results are insane:

Deadline/The Weinstein Company

According to Deadline’s interview with Fuqua, Gyllenhaal trained at boxer Floyd Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas, and also trained with real fighters in New York. Fuqua also discussed Gyllenhaal’s recent film roles and his immense talents, and just how dedicated he’s been to boxing—a little too dedicated, perhaps:

I met Jake years ago before he did End of Watch, and I saw something in him. I told him he needed to do more masculine films because I could see he had this power in him, and good size, and great expressive eyes. When I met him I said, ‘You’ve got to start doing that.’ And I watched him start. Working with him was a great experience because he’s so committed and gives his heart. You’re going to see in this movie, how far he has come. I asked this guy from day one, ‘I need you in the gym every day. I need you to train every day.’ And I said, ‘The word is sacrifice.’ Literally. I think he broke up with his girlfriend because he was just in the gym every day. 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’ also stars Rachel McAdams and focuses on a boxer who makes his way to the top, only to find that his success comes at a great personal cost. The film will hit theaters sometime next year.

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