Having gone several rounds leading only to a knockout as a vehicle for Eminem a few years ago, boxing drama Southpaw has recently been resuscitated with Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen) is directing, and there's now some further casting news. Forrest Whitaker is in late-stage talks to play a washed up prizefighter.
Back in the Eminem days, the film was pitched as a "metaphorical biopic" of the rapper, and an unofficial continuation of Eight Mile. It's now obviously lost that layer, but the general thrust of the narrative remains the same, with Gyllenhaal playing Billy "The Great" Hope, a left-handed pugilist who wins a big title but suffers a tragedy shortly afterwards. With his life in tatters he must piece everything back together to regain the respect of his young daughter.
Whitaker, assuming he finally signs on the dotted line, will be Titus "Tick" Willis, forced to retire from the ring after losing an eye and now working as a trainer of amateur fighters.
Kurt Sutter (Sons Of Anarchy) wrote the screenplay, and the film now has a home at MGM, who picked it up when Dreamworks dropped it. Whitaker is currently at work on Taken 3 (yes, there is a Taken 3), and shooting on Southpaw is currently scheduled for the summer.