Losing and gaining a few pounds for a movie, growing or shaving off one’s head, or even keeping a beard – all these come with the trade in Hollywood. However, some transformations are so radical that they stand tall as examples of an actor’s unmatched commitment to the portrayal of a character. Jake Gyllenhaal, for his upcoming movie Southpaw, has done just that. The actor, who is otherwise known for his boyish charms, is set to change that image forever. Gaining 15 pounds of pure muscle, Gyllenhaal now looks completely different from the frail Lou Bloom we saw in Nightcrawler and that makes his feat even more amazing.
The Donnie Darko actor has been gaining some momentum in Hollywood with unique roles and now, his preparations for Southpaw are the talk of town. In the first image that displays Gyllenhaal’s powerful body in the movie, you will have to look twice and then some more to make sure it is indeed the actor hidden behind all that muscle! Gyllenhaal’s body transformation to fit the role of a junior middleweight boxer is so astounding that Antoine Fuqua, the director of Southpaw, is even comparing him to other Hollywood greats who have undergone similar transformations in the past. “Two people have done this in their lives,” Fuqua said in an interview to Variety. “Robert De Niro in ‘Raging Bull’ and Denzel Washington in ‘The Hurricane.’ Those kinds of guys are rare.”
Not only did Gyllenhaal transform his body, but he also worked on his movements so that he could convincingly fit into the role as a boxer. “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. 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…” revealed Fuqua. The director seems to be in awe of the actor and just cannot seem to stop singing his praises as he goes on, “He sure has grown up. I love this guy. 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.”
Surely, others before Gyllenhaal have achieved mind-blowing transformation. Matthew McConaughey recently did it for The Dallas Buyer Club. Then again, how many allow their personal lives to take a beating while they are at it? According to Fuqua, Gyllenhaal’s six-hour routine may have been the reason behind his breakup with Alyssa Miller too! “Literally. I think he broke up with his girlfriend because he was just in the gym every day,” said Fuqua. Now, that’s what we call dedication and sacrifice!
Southpaw, depicting the struggles of a boxer to claim lost glory and of a father to win the love of his daughter, also stars Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker and Naomie Harris, and is set for release next year.