Southpaw

Jake_Gyllenhaal

Over the course of its development, the boxing drama Southpaw has become just about as much of an underdog as the fighter who serves as its main character. What started out as a sports drama that was supposed to star Eminem and be tied closely to his experiences coming up in the rap world has now slipped through the hands of several studios and lost its original star, but still seems to be fighting to earn the right to go in front of cameras and become a real life feature film. And probably with good reason, because it was put together by a couple of talented people. From the very beginning this film was going to be helmed by Training Day and Olympus Has Fallen director Antoine Fuqua, and back when it was in development at DreamWorks it got a script that was penned by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, so clearly there has to be some material here worth salvaging. Despite the project’s pedigree, however, it’s already been dropped by DreamWorks, picked up by MGM, and then eventually put into turnaround there. But with its recent acquisition by the Weinstein Company, it’s looking like there finally might be some new work being done in the casting department that could actually lead to getting this movie made.

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A couple months back it was reported that in between will-he-won’t-he work sessions on his often talked about, never produced Tupac Shakur biopic, Training Day director Antoine Fuqua would be making a boxing drama called Southpaw starring rapper turned occasional actor Eminem. The film was said to be about a lower class welterweight boxer struggling through drama in his daily life and boxing career on the way to greatness. It had a script by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter that was loosely based on Eminem’s own rise in the rap world, it was financially back by DreamWorks, and it was all set to start shooting in January. Sound like smooth sailing right? Not so fast. Suddenly DreamWorks has pulled out of the project and left it back in the hands of its creators to shop around to other studios for funding. Deadline River Rouge reports the studio’s decision, but doesn’t have anything to offer other than speculation as to why they may have backed out. It’s strange for a studio to drop a project like this that already has script, star, and director packaged up and ready to go. Theoretically, Fuqua and company should be able to find somebody else to set them up pretty quick, seeing as most of the heavily lifting has already been done and all they need is some funding. And I hope that’s true, because I just don’t want to live in a world where the entertainment industry’s preeminent white rapper can’t get a […]

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Whenever a smaller film breaks through and becomes a mainstream success it is always inevitable that a series of imitators will soon follow and attempt to ride its coattails. In this case, The Fighter got a lot of critical success by telling the story of street level hoodlums gaining success in the world of hand to hand combat, so now we have trailers for Warrior hitting theaters and news that Training Day director Antoine Fuqua is going to team up with 8 Mile star and hugely successful white guy who raps Eminem to make a new boxing movie called Southpaw. Fuqua was thought to be directing a biopic of another famed rapper, the late Tupac Shakur, but news that he’s close to signing on to this film points to the fact that he must have stepped away from Tupac for now. Probably similar to what was being planned for the Tupac film, Southpaw will detail the day-to-day tragedies of the life of a welterweight boxer as he struggles his way to greatness. I guess the moral of this story is just that Fuqua really likes to make movies about poor, urban people. Now if he could just make something that affected people as much as Training Day he might get somewhere as an auteur. Maybe Eminem will be his good luck charm; he’s at least got to do more for Fuqua’s career than he did for Curtis Hanson’s. [24 Frames]

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