Rapper/Actor/Entrepreneur CURTIS "50 CENT" JACKSON and OSCAR-nominated Actor JAKE GYLLENHAAL star in new film SOUTHPAW, and they cover the August 2015 issue of VIBE!!!
SOUTHPAW stars 50 CENT as boxing Promoter/Manager JORDAN MAINS, and JAKE as Boxer BILLY "The GREAT" HOPE.
Here are some interview highlights;
VIBE: 50, you were saying you brought VIBE Robert De Niro for our Hollywood Issue cover back in 2008, now you are bringing us the young De Niro for this cover…
50 Cent: We go through generations of this sh*t, man. [Screams] How many generations do I have to give you? [Laughs]
Jake Gyllenhaal. Young De Niro. Speaking of which, there’s Oscar talk for him on this one.
50: I mean he deserves that conversation. When you get a chance to see the performance in the film, you’ll understand the discipline is connected to Jake’s performance in this joint. We just talked about it briefly on the side. It’s not just the physical portion of it, people identify with that because they know how difficult it is to get ready for the summertime. They’ve got personal goals of losing five or ten pounds and it’s difficult for them to make the physical change. When they see that transformation, then they’re all attracted to him. They’re talkin’ about it so much ‘cause he’s able to commit himself to the point where he’s eight months ahead of the project. You started working on it [To Jake]?
Jake Gyllenhaal: Five months intensely. Before that, it was like a year talking about it. Then getting into it how we wanted to do it and then how we did it. It was like five months.
We met in the back room and he just started talking to me like he was my manager. From that moment, I was like, ‘He’s amazing.’But it was also one of those things where you had to kind of wait and see because Eminem was attached to it.
50: In the very beginning, yeah. I actually spoke to Em about the project and this was like two days ago. I talked to him and he was like, ‘Yo, Jake looks fuckin’ crazy in that movie. I’m glad it worked out the right way. It went the right way.’ When you’re around something, you’re reading it and you’re comfortable with the material. And then you actually see it on the screen and you go, ‘Damn. Look at this.’ You see all of the creative choices from the talent, from the actors….it’s connected to it. There are points where there’s a lot of improvisation in the actual script at the same time, so it’s not exactly what was on the page. When you watch it, it’s like, ‘Yo!’ It’s a whole ‘nother experience even if you’ve read the script.
But for Jake, in all the research that you did outside of the physical stuff, did you see Don King in 50’s performance?
50: There were a few Don King moments. [Jake laughs]
Jake: Definitely. I mean from the moment I met him…I was training at Church Street gym downtown and Antoine [Fuqua] had 50 come and just talk. We met up and the second we met, I literally got out of the ring. I was done with training, we met in the back room and he just started talking to me like he was my manager. From that moment, I was like, ‘He’s amazing.’
50: I’ve had these communications with professional fighters, so it was easy for me to get into that little pocket and you know I had my [famous boxing promoter] Al Haymon references.
Jake: Yeah, he used Al Haymon more. [Laughs]
50: Add a little bit of Don King there. When you see the…
It’s something in a human being that you wish to know about yourself, but you never wish to know, do you know what I mean?And a little bit of 50.
50: Yeah, a little bit of that, but you know what? Check this out, my character is not such a nice guy, so there was no 50 in there. There was no 50 in there, no. So a little Don, a little Al, a little bit of sporting nature of boxing.
Jake: I think it comes naturally. A little bit of the hustle.
50: You know what happens? We had a scene where he came out of the actual dressing room and I’m trying to tell him which fighter is the right fighter for him to fight. A lot of times, fighters, he got that real dog blood in him, he don’t care who he’s fighting. He doesn’t feel like there’s any one who could actually beat him. Period. That confidence, when it’s really like that, they can perform at the highest level and it’s almost like their motor skills kick in when they’re hurt or when they’re exhausted and have to keep going. Even when the boxer is completely exhausted because they’re already psychologically in that ‘This person cannot stop me, there’s no way he can beat me,’ mode.
Have you had any of those types of conversations with Floyd [Mayweather], like that happened in the film?
50: Well, funny enough, Victor Ortiz was in the film with us. In the Victor Ortiz fight leading up to it, it was so comfortable. Victor is a nice guy, and he usually smiles a lot. He was so comfortable that I was uncomfortable because of what was on the line. So before I got out the ring, I told Floyd, I said, ‘Yo this motherfucker trying to make sure you can’t feed your kids.’ He said, ‘What you say?’ I said, ‘He tryna make sure you can’t feed your kids.’ In the first available opportunity, he knocked Victor Ortiz out and it just happened to be one of those situations where his guard was down. After the fight was over, we was in a van, riding from the fight and [Floyd] was like, ‘ be sayin some shit.’ He was still thinking about it. And then we had a scene like that, in the film, where we’re in the locker room and I tell Jake’s characters to drag him into deep waters and drown him. [Jake: Yeah, I loved that.] That wasn’t on the page
The movie is based on a lot of revenge because of what happened to your wife in the movie. Did you actually look at any revenge fights, like those famous rematches? What kind of fights were you looking at and did any stick out that you used for the film?
Jake: Well, that Ward [vs.] Gatti  fight was a big one for us. I mean that was a fight that we referenced in the last fight of the film because that’s a fight of will, will, pure will. I don’t even know what that is at that point, but it’s something in a human being that you wish to know about yourself, but you never wish to know, do you know what I mean?
That was a big reference but at the same time, the last fight in particular is a fight about using anger but not using rage. Early in the movie, he’s a character who functions only on his rage–anger with violence–and throughout the movie, what he learns is how to use his anger, but without violence meaning he knows how to fight. He learns the techniques of fighting, how to box for real. With that knowledge, he can then when needed, like what 50 said when we talked to Floyd, he can then bring out that rage at times but not in a way that destroys his life.
50, you’ve had similar situations as Billy when it comes to custody of your kids. How hard was it to go through that on set knowing the reality of the matter.
50: Well, I mean just the process of rebuilding yourself, using those similar parallels between that. I understood the vulnerability at that point, the confusion that’s going on. The ‘Wait so…You can’t take my kid’ feeling. And then you realize they’re actually going try and do it, so you’re gonna fight. That’s when they gotta hold him. That’s the way everything worked out for him in his life. It’s like taking something negative and turning it into something positive. Let’s say the hand he was dealt was just the wrong hand, a bad hand, period. Now, it makes him angry and he becomes violent. He’s aggressive, he’s in foster care, now he takes all that aggression and puts it in the right place. The relationship that he builds and develops with the female turns into a family.
Jake: And you know what he knows? That he’s living. That’s the thing. It’s like we talked about this with Antoine — the story of a man becoming a father. And the only way to do that is to know yourself and the Universe teaches him to know himself, so he can then know his child. That’s ultimately the story. The story that is universal in that way. That’s the hardest thing for him to do in the movie because he’s a child at the beginning of the movie. At the beginning of the movie, he’s a child, struggling with, pretending like he’s grown-up ‘cause he’s got it all. He got the big house, he got the wife, he’s got the child, but then everything gets taken away and he really has to grow up.
50: That’s gonna be a surprise in the film because people look when they see boxers, they think it’s just gonna be action-packed, like a Rocky film or one of those other things that they've seen in the past...