(Reuters) - Jake Gyllenhaal takes on the role of a champion boxer who tries to turn his life around after tragedy strikes in “Southpaw”, a drama the Hollywood actor says is essentially about family.
The “Brokeback Mountain” star plays boxer Billy Hope who loses his family, his house and his manager and soon hits rock bottom.
“The story is about a guy who uses his rage to get great success,” Gyllenhaal said at the film’s premiere in New York on Monday night.
“That same rage destroys his whole life. Throughout the film and his journey, he has to learn how to fight -- not only in the ring but in life without rage.”
Gyllenhaal has said he watched fights and trained intensively for the part.
Canadian actress Rachel McAdams, known for her roles in “The Notebook” and “Sherlock Holmes” portrays Hope’s wife Maureen.
“(The movie is) very moving. It’s got a lot of heart, a lot of grit, it’s got a lot of soul in it,” she said.
“Boxing is a dog-eat-dog world. There’s are a lot of people who are going to be your friends when you’re winning and like any business where there’s a lot of money involved, you take a long hit and everybody scatters.”
Oscar winner Forest Whitaker plays trainer Titus “Tick” Wills, who helps the boxer recover.
The film, directed by Antoine Fuqua, also stars rapper 50 Cent and “Skyfall” actress Naomie Harris
“Southpaw” is set for release on July 24.
Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London