Finally headed towards production after suffering several rounds of difficult development, Antoine Fuqua’s boxing drama Southpaw is firming up its cast, with Rachel McAdams and Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o courted for two main roles.
Though the film was originally developed as a potential, unofficial follow-up to 8 Mile with Eminem playing a boxer, it has since evolved into a standalone film, with Jake Gyllenhaal as 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. Sons Of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter wrote the original script, though Fuqua has reportedly since brought on Equalizer collaborator Richard Wenk to polish it.
The producers are making a deal with About Time’s Rachel McAdams to play the female lead alongside Gyllenhaal, while Fuqua wants Nyong’o as the social worker who is looking out for the boxer’s child. Both would be fantastic choices, and feels like a potentially smart move for Nyong’o in particular.
Forest Whitaker remains in talks to play Titus “Tick” Willis, who retired from the ring after losing an eye and trains younger fighters. Southpaw should be shooting this summer.
McAdams has several upcoming films under her belt. She’ll next be seen alongside the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in A Most Wanted Man, due September 5, with Cameron Crowe’s latest, untitled film out on January 23 next year. Nyong’o, meanwhile, has signed on to voice Rakcha in Jon Favreau’s new version of The Jungle Book for Disney.