A new trailer for Antoine Fuqua’s pugilist drama Southpaw hit the internet earlier today; starring in a boxing movie is a perfect time for an actor to either pack on the pounds or drop some weight, which is of course something Academy voters take into consideration when choosing Best Actor nominees. Stallone cut his body fat to 2.8 percent for Rocky III, De Niro gained 60 pounds to play an older Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull, and now Jake Gyllenhaal, who got sickly skinny for Nightcrawler—and was still snubbed by the Academy—is giving it another go getting ripped for the new Southpaw.
The film, written by Sons Of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, tells the story of a once great boxer making a comeback after he hits rock bottom. The new Eminem/Gwen Stefani collaboration that blasts over the clip sells the film as a standard late summer action-drama and not as awards bait, but the marketing may be deceiving. Fuqua directed Denzel Washington to an Oscar win in 2002 for his portrayal of a corrupt cop in Training Day, and writer Sutter has a certain knack for creating complicated, likable scumbags. Then there’s Curtis “50 Cent” Armstrong, there to provide Gyllenhaal’s Billy “The Great” Hope with Rocky Balboa-style life advice life in and out of the ring.
Can this crew overcome the movie’s summer release date and lift it into awards territory? We’ll find out when Southpaw hits theaters on July 24th, a week before its previous release date of July 31.