The new Jake Gyllenhaal movie Southpaw looks pretty intense. The film follows the path of boxer Billy Hope, played by an insanely jacked Gyllenhaal, who retires at the top of his game only to be pulled back into the sport after his wife is murdered and his daughter is taken away. Yet although the film may appear on the surface to just be mostly about boxing, it also has some strong ties to the music world. A number of musicians show up in Southpaw, flexing their acting muscles for a change instead of their pipes. So many major stars appear in the movie that it's hard to keep track, especially because in most of the cases, the roles are so far from their public personas. Starring in a boxing drama is a huge leap for those previously best known for singing songs about love and fame, to say the least.
From 50 Cent to Rita Ora, Southpaw is full of familiar faces loved for their work in the music industry, but undoubtedly soon-to-be equally admired for their forays into film. Here's a rundown of all the singers and rappers who appear in the film, along with some appropriate musical accompaniment from the acting newcomers themselves.
1. 50 Cent
It's almost hard to remember that Fiddy, who often goes by his real name Curtis Jackson these days, was once the hottest name in hip hop. The guy's music career fizzled long ago and he's become much more recognized over the last several years as an actor (and for apparently being worth less than his name sake). In addition to his role of Jordan in Southpaw, Jackson has also appeared in movies like The Rain and Escape Plan, but personally, I'll always remember him best for telling me it's my birthday.
2. Rita Ora
British singer Ora is a rising star in both the music scene and the acting world. She's appeared in big budget movies like Fast & Furious 6 and Fifty Shades of Grey , and her profile will likely continue to rise after her turn in Southpaw. The 24-year-old shows off her full range of skills, and changes up her look about 400 times, in the video for her song "Poison."
3. Tyrese Gibson
Another guy who has somewhat shed his musical image in recent years for a spot on the silver screen, Tyrese started his career in the music world before transitioning to acting, where he has had a major impact as one of the stars of the billion-dollar Fast and Furious and Transformers franchises. But Tyrese is still making music, albeit with less fanfare than in the past, and just this month he released the video for his new single, "Shame," which is what you should be feeling if you don't watch it.
4. Malcolm Mays
While nowhere near as well known as either a musician or an actor as the others I've mentioned, Mays is no slouch. He started work on his first film, which he wrote, at the age of 17, and has gone to appear in several films and shorts in the years since. He's an accomplished rapper, too with a serious artistic vision, as evidenced by his video for "Buss it Open." Also: Twerking.
Eminem isn't in Southpaw, but he was originally supposed to star in the film. He dropped out after deciding to focus on his music career and was replaced by Gyllenhaal. Although he doesn't show up on screen, Em still recorded the lead single for the movie and supervised the music, and I have to say that his work on the film is "Phenomenal" (sorry).
6. Jake Gyllenhaal
Sure, he's far better known as an actor than a singer, but his recent turn in Little Shop of Horrors on Broadway (plus this cute clip from an interview, above) proves that he's seriously talented in both professions.
With so many great singers on-board, will Southpaw: The Musical be up next?
Images: The Weinstein Company