Jake Gyllenhaal became a boxer for his role in 'Southpaw'

Jake Gyllenhaal became a boxer for his role in 'Southpaw'
The actor knew he was in for a beating when he accepted the role in 'Southpaw'.

- When you make a film like this, then you and your opponent fight each other for real. Before I entered the ring it was important for me to remember that I did this willingly, that I had made a choice that involved injuries and pain. I got a lot of beating, but it was just part of the job, says Jake Gyllenhaal.

The actor says that previously one could perhaps get away with using stuntmen in boxing scenes, but that the modern cinema audience sees through things like that.

- The director could either find a real boxer who had acting talent, or find an actor who could learn how to fight, he said.

They chose the latter, and to be credible in the role of Billy Hope, Gyllenhaal trained twice a day for five months. He could spend days just to work with his left jab.

- I was motivated solely by the fear of looking like an idiot, because I knew I had to do all the boxing scenes myself, says Gyllenhaal.

The actor also says that despite a lot of beating, he thought the boxing training was a positive mental experience.

- It surprised me how incredibly spiritual boxing is. When I see a professional boxing match now, I notice there is communication between the two in the ring. It is an art, and clearly a spiritual experience, he says.

"Southpaw" is coming to theaters August 20.

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