The first image of Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw was recently released and the actor is almost unrecognizable. Insane muscle tone, an imposing figure, and the face of a man that would eat a bowl of nails for breakfast without milk – he is looking nothing short of menacing in this early look at Antoine Fuqa’s upcoming film.
It’s pretty crazy to think that spikey-haired doofus Jimmy from Bubble Boy would eventually turn into this freakin’ ripped boxing machine, but if you have followed Gyllenhaal’s career up to this point, he’s increasingly become a very transformative actor.
After the cult hit Donnie Darko and luke warm Bubble Boy, Gyllenhaal drifted between some smaller movies before making his way into the blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, which crossed $187 million when it was released in 2005. While it raked in the cash like any Roland Emmerich movie no matter how bad they may be, it was far from a great movie or that difficult of a role. For the most part, Jake Gyllenhaal’s character was a straight-forward kid who was smart and wound up in the apocalypse. Pretending the science in The Day After Tomorrow made any sense was arguably the most difficulty thing he had to act out in the movie.
Teenage jokes aside, Brokeback Mountain was his breakout role, and the first where he really proved he could take his acting to the next level. From then on it was almost all powerful performances in big time movies. Jarhead, Zodiac, Prisoners, Enemy and finally his most recent, Nightcrawler, which is generating a lot of award buzz for his fantastic performance of a crime journalist descending into madness.There were a couple odd duds in there, such as Prince of Persia and to a lesser extent, Brothers, but he’s done a great job at picking the right movies to take roles in and he always goes headlong into his roles. As someone who has watched him all the way from Bubble Boy, his transformation has been a great one to witness and I can’t wait to see where he goes from here.
Southpaw will have him playing the fictionalized boxer Billy Hope as he climbs to the top of his sport amid a crumbling home life. No release date has been set.