Jake Gyllenhaal looks like he could be a contender -- in more ways than one -- in the first trailer for director Antoine Fuqua's gritty boxing drama "Southpaw."
Set for release July 31 from the Weinstein Co., the film stars a very bulked-up Gyllenhaal as Billy "The Great" Hope," a lefty pugilist known for his brutal, but effective, fighting style. Just when it seems Hope has it all, including a loving wife (Rachel McAdams), an adorable daughter (Clare Foley) and the light-heavyweight belt, a tragic accident sends him into a downward spiral.
It's only with the help of a hard-bitten former boxer (Forest Whitaker) that Hope begins to fight his way back to both his daughter and the ring.
For Gyllenhaal, 34, "Southpaw" promises to continue his run of committed, intense performances in films such as "End of Watch," "Prisoners" and "Nightcrawler."
In the trailer, he modulates among bloodied bruiser, gentle family man and despairing has-been, but only time will tell if the finished film is enough to put him back in the Oscar race. Gyllenhaal was nominated for his supporting turn for 2005's "Brokeback Mountain" but has yet to land a lead-actor nomination from the academy.
The "Southpaw" trailer is also notably set to a new song by Eminem, and in fact was unveiled by the rapper via social media. Back in 2011, when "Southpaw" was in development at DreamWorks, Eminem was actually attached to star, in what would have been his first lead role since 2002's "8 Mile."
Ultimately that didn't work out, and "Southpaw" moved on to the Weinstein Co., but it's good to see there are no hard feelings.
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