In Southpaw, Jake Gyllenhaal portrays Billy "The Great" Hope, a boxer who retires while still on top of the sport, immediately sees his wife murdered and daughter taken away, falls into a downward spiral, and eventually returns to boxing to get his life back on track. It's a powerhouse performance, no doubt about it, but it seems the main thing anyone can talk about is the way Gyllenhaal altered his appearance for the film. He transformed himself into an insanely ripped fighter (with equally insane tats), and he certainly looks like he could go 10 rounds with just about anybody. But what about actual boxing? Did Jake Gyllenhaal do his own stunts for Southpaw ?
He sure did. Gyllenhaal's trainer for the movie, Terry Claybon, said that Gyllenhaal practically put his stunt double out of a job. "He wouldn't allow his stunt double to do anything," Claybon told E! Online. "He did everything. His stunt double never worked!"
The film's director, Antoine Fuqua, paints an even more impressive picture. Fuqua said there was no stunt double for Gyllenhaal at all, and that every punch he takes in the movie is real. "I watched him vomit in the gym and almost pass out. I watched him take hits, gut shots in the ribs, get dropped. He took punches and was swollen for real," Fuqua told EW. “There was no stunt double. He shot every boxing scene himself. Not only was he really in there, he was calling to do more."
But fans of Gyllenhaal shouldn't be surprised. The method actor has done a number of his own stunts in several films over the years — here are some of the ones for which he is best known.
1. Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time
Gyllenhaal's first true action movie, this video game film required the actor to train in parkour for the acrobatic stunts and leaps seen in the film. Gyllenhaal also trained for many hours for his sword fighting scenes, and completed one stunt where he had to leap between buildings where there was a 20-foot gap and and a 35-foot drop. Gyllenhaal told USA Today that even the stunt guys were scared to do it. No thanks.
2. Source Code
Not only did Gyllenhaal perform his own stunts for this mind-bending thriller, one of them even resulted in an injury for the actor (a trend, as it turns out). Gyllenhaal leapt off a train in the film and landed on his shoulder, hurting himself pretty badly. According to the actor, the scene made it into the film, so the next time you want to see Jake Gyllenhaal in physical pain, you know where to look.
Another injury Gyllenhaal endured on set, this one turned out to be permanent. There was a scene in this intense military movie that involved a gun being inserted into Gyllenhaal's mouth. During the scene, Gyllenhaal's co-star, Brian Geraghty, yanked the gun out of his mouth a little too roughly, and Gyllenhaal's tooth came out with it. Understandably angry about losing his tooth, Gyllenhaal attacked his co star with a flurry of punches, and the two didn't speak for a month. Note to self: Don't piss off Jake Gyllenhaal. Also, don't knock his tooth out.
While not as action-heavy as some of his other films, Gyllenhaal still managed to severely hurt himself filming a stunt for this acclaimed drama. The committed actor punched a mirror in said scene, breaking it, and received a number of stitches (and seven years bad luck) as a result.
5. Man Vs. Wild
Leave it to Jake Gyllenhaal to out-Bear Grylls Bear Grylls. Although it isn't a movie, Gyllenhaal did plenty of real life stunts while filming a celebrity version of the survival TV show that were more dangerous than anything he's done on camera before. In one instance, he even traverses over a deadly snow trap — ahead of Grylls — while there was a serious risk of it caving in.
I get it, Gyllenhaal, you're braver than I am. Geez.
Images: The Weinstein Company; Giphy (5)