Jake Gyllenhaal plays a fighter in Southpaw, but the actor’s co-stars have nothing but love and respect for him off-screen. Just ask Curtis Jackson III, aka 50 Cent, who stars as a promoter working with Gyllenhaal’s heavyweight boxing champ in the upcoming drama. “He did an amazing job in this film,” Jackson recently told reporters at the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic. “People who see it will be blown away by his performance.”
By now, Gyllenhaal is well-known for his chameleon-like ability to transform his appearance for a role. He lost nearly 30 pounds to play a sleazy photographer in 2014's Nightcrawler, only to gain it back plus put on 15 pounds of muscle for Southpaw a year later. Still, Jackson was surprised to see the results of his co-star's physical transformation firsthand. “Right after we finished [filming], I went to go see Nightcrawler, and that definitely wasn’t the same person I was with on set,” said Jackson, adding that Gyllenhaal had a “whole different vibe, whole new energy” from one film to the next.
And the admiration didn’t stop there. Jackson was equally impressed by Gyllenhaal’s performance in Constellations on Broadway earlier this year. “He’s really got some depth to him,” Jackson said of seeing his co-star take the stage, pointing out that Gyllenhaal knows exactly how to tap into his broad range of talent when signing on for projects. “He makes amazing choices,” he said.
And while Gyllenhaal’s performances are certainly inspiring, Jackson has a game plan of his own when it comes to carefully selecting his roles—especially when it comes to potential critics. “I get a chance to protect myself by having these good people around me,” he joked. “I’m doing this strategically.”
Watch the latest trailer for Southpaw below, and catch the film in theaters on July 24.