Jake Gyllenhaal is astonishing as the title character in ‘Southpaw.’ This kind of transformation into a boxing champion is dramatic, now some of the training and fitness secrets that gave him that astounding physique are being revealed.

Jake Gyllenhaal

Photo: Jake Gyllenhaal
Credit: PR Photos

Yes, while we are marveling at what’s sure to be a standout performance, there’s curiosity about how Jake Gyllenhaal turned himself into a heavyweight champion boxer, albeit one who struggles to make the comeback that is the focus of the drama. One does not get this look casually, after all!

Yes, it’s one of those movies that’s got Oscar buzz written all over it, especially for who stars as the title character, heavyweight boxer Billy Hope. The movie was directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Kurt Sutter. It’s a role that was originally intended for and inspired by Eminem but it has gone to Gyllenhaal. Rachel McAdams portrays his wife, Maureen Hope.

Gyllenhaal has already shown us in preview clips and trailers an astonishing transformation and already comparisons to Robert De Niro and ‘Raging Bull’ have been drawn. Just as he transformed himself into an emaciated reporter for ‘Nightcrawler’ he’s done just the opposite this time around.

So how did he do it? That’s the top-of-mind question. ABC News gives us a behind-the-scenes look in a fascinating report. We find out that he underwent six months of training with professional boxing trainer Terry Claiborne and that he put on fifteen pounds of muscle. The cold hard facts are a bit sobering; 2,000 sit-ups every day. Two training sessions every day. Eight miles of running in between the sessions. “Grueling” doesn’t begin to do it justice.

He also spoke about his training in a recent interview for the UK Mirror and said of it, “It was mostly about skill. I trained for five months, went to a boxing camp and immersed myself. This film was a full-on commitment. I treat all my work the same, but some films require more commitment than others and this was full-on. Especially as I hadn’t ever boxed in my life.”

He goes on to speak of the emotional component as well, calling the movie, “a very human story, about fragility, loss and life.” And it is the intensity of the family drama that may draw in viewers who perhaps might shy away from a movie that centers solely around and in the boxing ring. How critics and movie goers react, time will tell, but the buzz is certainly immense.

See the full interview here and see the behind-the-scenes video below along with the official ‘Southpaw’ trailer!