50 Cent stars in the upcoming movie Southpaw as Jordan Mains, manager to boxer Billy Hope, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. The rapper met director Antoine Fuqua through LaLa Anthony, who worked out at the gym where the Fuqua and Gyllenhaal were training. 50 was trying to network with Fuqua and when he was asked to read for the role, the rapper readily agreed.
“I was like, ‘Oh, I was, well, forget about what I was talking about ‘cause this is a lot better now,’” he says to HipHopDX during the Southpaw media day in Los Angeles. The film is due in theaters July 24.
“I wasn’t really reaching out about the project,” 50 Cent continues. “I was just reaching out to make the connection between him and I. Then, I came to the gym and I met with Antoine and we started talking about the sport and some of the details to the actual writing that I identify with immediately.”
The rapper says that his knowledge of the sport, specifically the difference between a promoter and manager, helped him in the role.
“[Antoine] knew I had a different perspective based on my interactions in sport,” 50 says. “Like Jordan Mains being a management character instead of a promoter and playing the promoter’s role at the same time is like [boxing figure] Al Haymon. The advantages that would give you is it would allow you to talk to any fighter at any point and…you didn’t care about the portions that would be going to their management contracts. You say, ‘I don’t care. I’m fine with that,’ ‘cause then you can control the sport. I went on to see people who have promoter’s license don’t talk to fighters that are known to be signed to other companies or they receive tortious interference and get sued regardless to what they say.”
Haymon is a manager who works with more than 100 boxers including Floyd Mayweather. 50 is a friend of Mayweather’s and referenced him when explaining one of his character’s lines with Hope. Throughout the Southpaw, Mains tells Gyllenhaal’s Hope character, “If it makes money, it makes sense.”
“They’ve developed that motto together,” 50 says. “They’ve grinded to the position that they’re in at that point, Jordan Mains and Billy Hope as a team. He’s still a friend even though there’s fucked up shit there, it’s because of his temperament dealing with other fighters doing things that they want all of the money. So he’s saying, ‘$30 million, I’ve got a guaranteed contract with HBO and you don’t have to give me nothing because all these other fighters are coming to me because they want to beat Billy Hope.’ It’s Floyd Mayweather, Al Haymon.”
50 Cent Discusses Jake Gyllenhaal’s “Southpaw” Performance
The G-Unit boss says that he enjoyed working with Gyllenhaal. 50 says that the actor did a good job with the boxing scenes, but that he would still ask the rapper for approval.
“It’s eight hours that he’s throwing combinations,” he says. “You’re fighting and you’re accurately portraying it as you’re actually in the fight. So it’ll come out in points you see. He’ll go, ‘What you think? How was that?’ ‘It was good.’ So everybody was clapping and doing everything else. He was like, ‘Alright.’ He’s asking ‘cause he knows we watch the sport enough. I think he’s amazing.”
50 says that he was impressed with how the actor transformed his body from scrawny for Nightcrawler to a muscular boxer for Southpaw. 50 also says that seeing Gyllenhaal act on Broadway as a beekeeper in the mind-bending love story Constellations challenged him to step up his acting game.
“I saw him and that was like, ‘What the fuck?’” 50 Cent says. “It was like an hour and a half, not dropping the line, like an accent. It was on some other shit. I was like ‘Aw, damn, I gotta, I’m gonna step my shit up now.’”