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Jake Gyllenhaal has played a detective (multiple times), a gay cowboy, a Jarhead and the kid stuck in a plastic bubble. One role he’s yet to play, however, is a boxer, - though that’s about to change.
The Prisoners star reportedly is in talks to replace rap star Eminem in Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw, according to The Wrap. Gyllenhaal, if he gets the role, will play "a left-handed prizefighter who wins a title but suffers a tragedy soon after and must put his life back together to earn the respect of his young daughter." Instead of being a straight-up boxing movie, Fuqua tells the Los Angeles Times that "the heart of the movie is about a man learning to be a father."
Which is fine, because down-on-their-luck boxing dramas are a dime a dozen. That particular brand of story has been done before – and done VERY well – in movies like Rocky, Raging Bull, Somebody Up There Likes Me, The Champ and Million Dollar Baby, to name just a few.
Study that choreography, Mr. Fuqua. News that Southpaw is moving forward likely answers the question as to why Fuqua isn’t directing that Olympus Has Fallen sequel that recently was greenlit. There’s no clear cut indication what happened to Eminem, however, who has been attached to Southpaw since 2010, as far as we can tell. Perhaps he’s too busy promoting his latest album, Marshall Mathers LP2? The dude has been teasing fans that he’d follow up 8 Mile one day. Southpaw sounded like it had the potential to live up to the gut-punch that was Curtis Hanson’s winning rap drama. Now, this remains the best Eminem has been on screen.
Gyllenhaal has several projects in the hopper, including Nightcrawler and Everest. But The Wrap says Fuqua wants Southpaw in production next year.