Rachel McAdams Talks ‘Southpaw,’ Jake Gyllenhaal’s Transformation, Her Own Boxing Training, and More

July 19, 2015

Rachel McAdams spoke about the boxing training she underwent for ‘Southpaw,’ including spending time with professional boxing wives. While Jake Gyllenhaal has deservedly gotten attention for transforming himself into a convincing heavyweight boxing champion on screen, the actress who costars as his wife, did extensive work as well.

Rachel McAdams

The 35-year-old actress costars with Jake Gyllenhaal in the Antoine Fuqua-direcrted sports drama ‘Southpaw’ which has generated much buzz and anticipation. It’s one of those movies that sees a lead character undergo a dramatic physical transformation. And, as we know, such transformations — along with sufficient acting gravitas — lead to Oscar nominations.

But as it turns out while Jake Gyllenhaal spent months training with professional boxing trainer Terry Claybon so as to portray the heavyweight boxing champion Billy Hope, so too did Rachel McAdams, in preparation for her role as Maureen Hope, his wife.

In an in-depth interview with Yahoo! Style, McAdams said she saw Gyllenhaal at the gym as he was just about to start the training. She did not seem him again until several months later, and she spoke of witnessing that transformation, saying, “I was so unprepared and it was just amazing to walk from the back of that stadium towards and get closer and closer to that ring and see him emerge and see up close just what he had done – not just the physical transformation but even his emotional shift was so palpable. He had become this person on a cellular level. So really extraordinary. Very awe-inspiring.”

Asked if she had the chance to train with him ever, she said, “I did get to do boxing to prep, which was amazing. It was such a great workout. We never boxed each other. I think that would have been against the insurance rules!”

She went on to say, “But I watched him box a lot, which I felt like Maureen would have done, especially in their earlier days. So watched him train a lot and then I’d get in the ring. I could go about three rounds and then I was like, “OK. I’m good.”

She spoke about her own training with Claybon, saying, “He was just incredible, really such a great guy. And I know he didn’t really have a ton of spare time and he totally took me under his wing and he pushed me really hard. And I kind of fell in love with the sport…as a form of exercise. I actually carried it over into True Detective. I thought it would be a good mode of exercise for that character too.”

She also said that she spent time with professional boxers’ wives to further prepare herself for the role. She said, “Some of the wives that I talked to said, “You know when you are on top of the world, everybody is your best friend. And then the minute you lose a fight, it’s like crickets.”

There’s much, much more to the interview, and you can see it in its entirety here. It’s always exciting when a movie is so greatly anticipated that when the stars make the promo rounds, their reveals about the filming and the characters and the preparations they underwent are so fascinating we don’t need to settle for celebrity fodder. Sure these actors have relationships, past and present, but how refreshing to just have a chance to talk about the movie!

Yes, the making of ‘Southpaw’ begs for a documentary or at least a bunch of featurettes! See the official ‘Southpaw’ trailer below!

Pictures: PR Photos

« Previous Next »

Comments are closed.