Synopsis – From acclaimed director Antoine Fuqua (TRAINING DAY) and screenwriters Kurt Sutter (“Sons of Anarchy”), SOUTHPAW tells the riveting story of Billy “The Great” Hope, reigning Light Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World (Academy Award® nominee Jake Gyllenhaal). Billy Hope seemingly has it all with an impressive career, a beautiful and loving wife (Rachel McAdams), an adorable daughter (Oona Laurence) and a lavish lifestyle. When tragedy strikes and his lifelong manager and friend (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) leaves him behind, Hope hits rock bottom and turns to an unlikely savior at a run-down local gym: Tick Willis (Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker), a retired fighter and trainer to the city’s toughest amateur boxers. With his future riding on Tick’s guidance and tenacity, Billy enters the hardest battle of his life as he struggles with redemption and to win back the trust of those he loves.
Director – Antoine Fuqua
Rated – PG15
Run Time – 124 min
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ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
A love of boxing was certainly not what drove Academy Award® nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal to star in SOUTHPAW. In fact, Gyllenhaal was essentially unfamiliar with the sport before signing on, though he now calls himself an avid fan. For him, director Antoine Fuqua, who’s a dedicated boxer himself and trains every day, was the main reason for his interest in the film to begin with. Having met years before, Fuqua insisted that he’d love to direct the already-acclaimed actor in something that audiences had never seen before. While Gyllenhaal initially chalked the claim up to just being typical Hollywood talk, Fuqua eventually made good on his word. Determined not to make SOUTHPAW “just another boxing movie,” the filmmaker was determined to find an actor willing to take on the role of Billy “The Great” Hope in the most literal, brutal way conceivable – no doubles, very few effects, little reliance on editing – just straight training and as faithful a replication of the boxing world as possible, right down to the camerawork. “The reason why I like to play certain characters is because of the doubt that I have in my ability to do it,” says Gyllenhaal. “Antoine believed in me years before I even knew, and then in the process he believed I could do it. I think that belief in anybody allows you to go do your best work.”
Given Gyllenhaal’s intensive immersion into the role of Billy, it can come as surprise to learn that the film was originally intended for a very different performer: hip hop artist Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem. SONS OF ANARCHY creator Kurt Sutter, whose father was at one time a semi-professional fighter, was first approached by the rapper’s team three years ago to potentially do a remake of the 1979 boxing classic THE CHAMP. Sutter disagreed with the idea, however, of simply doing a reboot of an old film. “I try not to do anything that feels too derivative, so my pitch was at that point to tell Marshall’s story
through the analogy of boxing.” Serving as inspiration for character Billy Hope’s downward spiral was Eminem’s own real-life struggle with the death of his best friend, Proof. His close relationship with his daughter Hailie Jade was also a key piece in informing the film’s other crucial theme: fatherhood. When the musician dropped out of the project at the last minute to focus on an album instead, Sutter and Fuqua went back to the drawing board and, ultimately, won the interest of Gyllenhaal. He remains enthusiastically connected to the film however – his single “Phenomenal” is the first song off the movie’s official soundtrack, which he is also executive producing and releasing on his Shady Records label. “He just seems to have a natural ability to understand the world – the highs, the lows and emotional roller coaster,” explains Fuqua as to why he insisted that Eminem remain involved. In fact, the rapper was the first person he showed the film too when it was done. “I wanted to see if he felt it,” he says. “He’s somebody who’s gone through his own darkness. If he walked out of the room feeling it even more, then I knew I did my job.”
Together with Sutter, Fuqua and Gyllenhaal were determined to craft a film that was both a realistic ode to the sport and a complex but relatable tale of familial and personal hardship. Gyllenhaal notes: “The thing that intrigued me from the get-go was the idea that Billy’s a guy who has gotten by on his rage and his own anger – made a career out of it, had great success and made lots of money from it. That anger can actually indirectly destroy you. Ultimately for me, and know for Antoine as well, this is a story about a man coming to grips with his own anger, and the idea of what it is to be a father.” Sutter also notes that after going over the script with Fuqua and Gyllenhaal, the approach to the script began to take shape from a specific metaphor for the character’s personal journey to a more far-reaching theme. “I realized that it really wasn’t one man’s story,” says Sutter. “It was really this universal story about redemption, overcoming obstacles and personal demons, and putting others before you.” What was also agreed upon between the director, writer and lead actor was that the boxing film genre comes with so many familiar tropes, and that they wanted to do their best to steer SOUTHPAW in a different, fresh direction.
In order to build a strong foundation for an exceptionally realistic boxing film, Fuqua enlisted the services of legendary trainer and fight choreographer Terry Claybon. A former professional fighter who won three Golden Glove Championships and retired undefeated, Claybon has worked with some of entertainment’s biggest names, including Denzel Washington, Kevin Spacey, Nicolas Cage, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Claybon also has a role in the film as T, assistant to Forest Whitaker’s character Tick Willis. The two met over seven years ago when Claybon worked with the director for his film TRAINING DAY. Fuqua approached him about SOUTHPAW about three years prior to the film’s eventual shoot, when musician Eminem was in talks to play the lead role. On what makes Fuqua unique as a helmer of a boxing film, Claybon notes: “The difference is that Antoine knows boxing. He’s been in the ring, he’s boxed, he’s sparred. So if he sees something on the screen and it doesn’t look real, he’s able to catch it really fast. He has a quick eye on boxing.”
Using Sutter’s script as a kick-off point, Gyllenhaal and Fuqua sought to create a seemingly real Billy Hope in tandem through a long period of patient, excruciating work. The director and actor chose to train together with Claybon – who traveled everywhere with them – nearly every single day over the course of six months, learning the intricacies of a boxer’s technique, physicality and mentality. In those months, they worked twice a day, with Fuqua usually attending the first training session of the day in order to be present as the character organically took shape. “Antoine decided that he would come with me on the physical journey,” recalls Gyllenhaal. “It was amazing to have your director there with pushing you every day. That motivation and sacrifice is what drove both of us. I think that energy is in the film.” Kicking off with a run – anywhere in between two and ten miles – the six-hour daily program then included jumping rope, working mitts and bags, learning technique and footwork, and conditioning exercises such as sprints, pull-ups and sit-ups. Because Billy is supposed to fight as a light heavyweight, Gyllenhaal had to work to get down to 175 pounds, about fifteen less than his normal weight. “It was six months of very intense training and learning the skill of boxing in the most rudimentary way,” he says. Notes Claybon of Gyllenhaal’s preparation: “Jake was there to take boxing way quicker than I anticipated. He came in with an open mind, whereas most guys com in too macho.”
Gyllenhaal’s journey to embody his character didn’t just stop at the physical level. For him and Fuqua, entering into and understanding the mindset of a boxer was equally important in doing the justice to the script and role. “Most people think it’s all about the physical when it comes to boxing,” explains Claybon. “But mentally you’ve got to prepare yourself just like a real fight, and go out there and be able to establish a different type of style for each fight.” Along with the grueling training routine, there was also an immersion into the world of fighters taking place which was key to making Billy Hope come alive on screen, with the actor spending all of his time in the gym surrounded by professionals and ringside, observing match after match and even visiting world champion Floyd Mayweather’s training facility. “The body will only function as far as the mind,” notes Gyllanhaal. “I didn’t really spend much time doing anything else or socializing in any other way.”
The approach in SOUTHPAW was very much in line with his standard practice in preparing for performances, seeking to become the character rather than just play it. “After a while what happens is you pick up the molecules of the world that you’re in. I love to make things unconscious as an actor, and that takes time. When you play a character and you’re in the world enough, you carry the molecules of that thing.” From preparation to the completion of shooting, Gyllenhaal developed an overwhelming respect for what actual boxers must endure mentally and physically. “There is a legitimate question of life and death when you step in that ring that’s unlike pretty much any sport and anything in society with the exception of going into the military,” he observes. “I think in a way it’s a beautiful metaphor for life in that you come into the ring on your own, you leave that way and the journey is yours. As a fight fan, to watch the strength it takes to be a professional fighter – the will, the preparation, the discipline and the artistry – is really moving to me.” Fuqua shares a similar, if not even greater, passion and respect for the sport. SOUTHPAW is not the first set of his on which he trained as a fighter; in fact, he makes sure there’s a ring and a gym on hand at each of his film shoots. “I find boxers to be the most vulnerable of all athletes of all because they leave a piece of themselves in the ring every time. “
Along with Gyllenhaal and Fuqua, Claybon also worked with cast members Victor Ortiz, Miguel Gomez, Forest Whitaker and Rachel McAdams. While Ortiz and Gomez are actual boxers on the professional and amateur levels, respectively, Whitaker and McAdams felt it was equally important for them to understand the world of fighting through Claybon’s expertise.
Playing Tick Willis, the humble but tough trainer who’s there to guide Billy when no one else will, Whitaker was tasked with shaping a very particular sort of character. While he serves as a mentor and ultimately a savior for Billy, he privately carries demons of his own. “Working with Forest on the character Tick was really different because Forest knows a lot of martial arts, but different styles, so he really had to pick it up fast,” remarks Claybon. “For the mental part, he watched the fights, he studied the game and he really did his homework to take the character to another level.” In the end, Whitaker’s goal was to paint a picture of Tick as the inspiration for Billy to become a more patient boxer, resilient to his own rage, keen on defensive skills and understanding of his own accountability. Sutter, who worked with Whitaker on THE SHIELD, had breakfast with the actor to discuss the role of Tick, but the two ended up talking about samurais for an hour and a half instead. “Forest is a very spiritual cat,” notes Sutter. “He loves the idea of playing these characters that are sort of samurai masters and spiritual gurus who guide without guiding.” For McAdams, it was crucial to not just play the role of Billy’s wife Maureen, but to tackle it with an understanding of the sport as a real-life wife like her would have had. Says Claybon, “Rachel wanted to really feel and understand what a fighter goes through so she can get an understanding of, when her husband’s in there fighting, what he’s going through. She was taking boxing with me so she could get gutted out, per se, and get a real feel of what it takes to be a fighter.” Adds Fuqua on McAdam’s character preparation: “When she says ‘You’re taking too many punches,’ she actually understands that because she was around it so much.”
Two other key pre-production decisions that Fuqua needed to tackle were filling the roles of Leila, Billy and Maureen’s precocious, loving and intelligent daughter, and Jordan Mains, Billy’s lifelong friend and manager. Gyllenhaal attended a New York casting session with Fuqua and introduced himself to the kids there, under the director’s instruction, in character as Billy. The two knew instantly upon meeting 12 year-old stage and screen actress Oona Laurence that she was the Leila they needed. Laying out a set of dolls and explaining them to Gyllenhaal in a British accent without flinching, Laurence convinced the actor and director that no one else could play her part. “I needed a kid who could handle Jake and not be scared of him,” says Fuqua. “And she went toe-to-toe with him.” He had been in talks with artist and entrepreneur Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson for a long time about working on a film together, but had yet to be able to find the proper role for him. After noticing that Jackson had gotten into the business of boxing promotion with his company SMS Promotions and spending time with athletes such as Floyd Mayweather, he realized he might fit into plans for SOUTHPAW. Reading the part of Jordan in Sutter’s script again, the filmmaker felt that like every other actor in the film, whoever played this role had to do so with immense authenticity. “I needed Jordan to be a guy that’s in the grey,” he notes. “He’s not a bad guy – he’s a businessman. That’s 50.” The two met, along with Gyllenhaal, at the Church Street Boxing Gym in New York for a few hours to discuss boxing and business, made a phone call to executive producer Harvey Weinstein, and a decision was made: 50 Cent would play Jordan.
Principal photography for SOUTHPAW took a total of approximately forty days from mid-June to mid-August 2014, with the film primarily shot in the cities of Pittsburgh and Indiana, Pennsylvania, and additional shorter filming periods in New York City and Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace. In order to compliment many of the actors’ sharply honed skills, Fuqua and Director of Photography Mauro Fiore chose to bring HBO Boxing’s longtime camera operators Todd Palladino and Rick Cypher in to shoot the film’s matches. Adding to the real feel of the fight sequences were legendary HBO Boxing commentators Jim Lampley and Roy Jones, Jr. along with veteran boxing referee Tony Weeks. The Kovalchick Center in Indiana, PA, which is part of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, was dressed as Caesar’s Palace and Madison Square Garden during the first two weeks of filming for the movie’s three main matches. With this particular team assembled, it became more clear than ever that Fuqua’s number one goal was authenticity. While Claybon carefully trained the actors playing fighters and painstakingly choreographed every match, the director was adamant that the boxing sequences be played out to look and feel as real as possible. He recalls: “I told Jake, ‘We’re going to capture every moment. So if you’re tired or you pass out or you vomit, it’s going to be on film.’ And I told my DP Mauro, ‘There’s no re-lighting. They don’t re-light Madison Square Garden or the fights in Vegas.”
Palladino and Cypher, who together have a combined almost forty years of experience filming fights for HBO, found that their expertise went beyond just mere camerawork. The two, who previously had worked on THE FIGHTER and GRUDGE MATCH, shot the film’s boxing scenes exactly as they would have for actual television. Under Fuqua’s direction and quest for authenticity, the matches were enacted in three-minute rounds, just as they would in a real fight. Palladino and Cypher used four to five cameras in their setups, with some dedicated to the look of an HBO televised match, and some for fulfilling Fuqua and Fiore’s more stylized vision and tighter shots. Moreover, they served as parts of the collective group who advised Fuqua on details even more than anticipated. “I think it’s very smart on the part of the producers and Antoine to bring Tony Weeks, Jim Lampley, Roy Jones, Rick and me in to help on the fight sequences,” comments Palladino. “We bring in some of the authenticity that relates to the ring: how to place the ring card girls, how a fighter would walk out of the walk-out area for his intro, where the judges would sit, where the security guards would stand, and so forth.” Adds Lampley of his time on set with Fuqua: “We sat down and eventually we’d start talking boxing. I’d look at my watch and wonder if I was wasting Antoine’s time talking about what happened between Michael Nunn and James Tony in Davenport, Iowa in the early ‘90s, or if it was worth it. By and large, it was worth it because we were learning from each other and informing the venture as we went along.”
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
ANTOINE FUQUA – Director/Producer
Antoine Fuqua is one of the most sought-after filmmakers of his generation, effortlessly blending action and character-driven storytelling. Most recently, Fuqua helmed the smash hit The Equalizer for Sony, reuniting him with Denzel Washington. He is currently in post production on Southpaw for The Weinstein Company, starring Jake Gyllenhaal set for a July 2015 release. Fuqua will next direct The Magnificent Seven starring Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke for MGM/Sony.
Fuqua’s critically acclaimed drama Training Day earned an Academy Award® for Denzel Washington for Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor nomination for Ethan Hawke. He has also directed the films Olympus Has Fallen starring Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman; Brooklyn’s Finest with Richard Gere; international hit King Arthur starring Clive Owen; acclaimed blues documentary Lightning in a Bottle, executive produced by Martin Scorsese; and his first feature The Replacement Killers with Chow Yun Fat.
Fuqua is also a highly regarded commercial and music video director having worked with such brands as Nike and Armani and earning numerous awards. He is passionate about giving back to his community through filmmaking, and is inspired by his own upbringing. Fuqua currently resides in Los Angeles.
KURT SUTTER – Writer/Executive Producer
Raised in the suburbs of Central New Jersey, Sutter spent most of his childhood indoors, avoiding people, three feet from a TV screen. That’s where he learned the essentials of storytelling and that extreme violence, if performed by animated, slightly absurd characters, could be fun and informative.
After graduating from Rutgers University with a BA in Mass Media & Film, Kurt spent several years as an actor in NYC, performing in off off-Broadway theatres, meatpacking warehouses, indiscriminate lofts and NYPD holding cells. His theatre training led to teaching and directing and in the mid-nineties he joined the faculty of The Gately-Poole Acting Studio on Theatre Row, teaching the Sanford Meisner Technique and directing productions at The Nat Horne Theatre.
In 1997, Kurt was awarded an MFA Fellowship to attend Northern Illinois University. In Chicago, Kurt’s exposure to the dramatic masters – Strindberg, O’Neill, Genet – inspired him, and he began writing unproducible plays and cultivating ideas for the screen. After graduating with a Master of Fine Arts, Sutter moved to Los Angeles where he began writing. In 2001, he landed a gig on FX’s The Shield. Starting as a staff writer on the first episode, he stayed on The Shield until the end of the series, finishing up the last two seasons as an Executive Producer.
In 2008, Kurt created the critically acclaimed drama series Sons of Anarchy. Its seven-year run has proven to be the most successful episodic series in the history of the network. Kurt follows up SOA with a new series, The Bastard Executioner. Set in the 14th century and filmed on location in Wales. The pilot just wrapped and is expected to go to series in July with a September premier date.
Kurt recently ventured into reality programming with a documentary series on the Discovery Channel, Kurt Sutter’s Outlaw Empires.
Along with his TV work, Sutter has feature projects in production and/or development with Cross Creek Pictures, TWC and Warner Bros.Sutter and his wife, Katey Sagal, live in Los Angeles with their three children, Sarah, Jackson and Esme’.
TODD BLACK – Producer
Born in Dallas and raised in Los Angeles, Todd Black attended the theatre program at the University of Southern California and began his entertainment career as a casting associate. In 1995, Black became President of Motion Picture Production at Sony’s Mandalay Entertainment and managed such films as DONNIE BRASCO, SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, and WILD THINGS.
In January 2001, Black, along with his partner Jason Blumenthal, merged with the Steve Tisch Company to form Escape Artists, an independently financed company housed at Sony Pictures. Their first produced movie was A KNIGHT’S TALE, starring Heath Ledger.Todd Black’s feature film credits include THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS and SEVEN POUNDS, both starring Will Smith; THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123, directed by Tony Scott and starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta; KNOWING, starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Alex Proyas; and HOPE SPRINGS, starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. His latest movie, THE EQUALIZER, reunited Denzel Washington and TRAINING DAY director, Antoine Fuqua.
He was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Picture (Drama) for the Denzel Washington-directed THE GREAT DEBATERS. In addition, Black was honored with the Producer Guild’s Stanley Kramer Award for THE GREAT DEBATERS and for his 2002 film ANTWONE FISHER, Denzel Washington’s directorial debut.
JASON BLUMENTHAL – Producer
Producer Jason Blumenthal was born and raised in Los Angeles. He graduated from Crossroads School for the Arts and attended Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications.
After graduation, Jason joined Wizan/Black Films in 1990. There, he was involved with the development and production of Iron Eagle II, Split Decisions, The Guardian, Short Time,
Class Act, Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, Dunston Checks In, A Family Thing, and Bio Dome. They also executive produced Becoming Colette and Fire In The Sky.
Jason was Senior Vice President of Feature Production at Mandalay Entertainment from the company’s inception in 1995 through March of 1998. During his tenure as Senior Vice President, Jason managed Mandalay’s production slate which included such films as The Fan, Donnie Brasco, Seven Years in Tibet, Les Miserables, Wild Things, Gloria, and The Deep End of the Ocean. One of Mandalay’s biggest box office successes was I Know What You Did Last Summer, which went on to be #1 at the box office for three weeks and grossed more than $130 million worldwide, spawning the sequel, I Still KnowWhat You Did Last Summer.
In April 1998, Jason and his partner Todd Black formed Black & Blu Entertainment and entered into a first look production deal at Sony Pictures Entertainment. In 2001, Black & Blu merged with the Steve Tisch Co. (producers of Forrest Gump) to become Escape Artists while still maintaining their first look deal at Sony Pictures. Escape Artists has since produced A Knight’s Tale, starring Heath Ledger; and Antwone Fisher, directed by and starring Denzel Washington, which was released through Fox Searchlight. Before the success of The Pursuit of Happyness, which went on to gross more than $300 million worldwide, they produced The Weather Man directed by Gore Verbisnki and starring Nic Cagea and Michael Caine. Escape Artists also released the Alex Proyas thriller Knowing starring Nic Cage, Seven Pounds starring Will Smith, and The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 directed by Tony Scott, and starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta. Among Escape Artists’ more recent films is Hope Springs, starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones; and The Equalizer, reuniting Denzel Washington and Training Day director, Antoine Fuqua.
STEVE TISCH – Producer
Steve Tisch is a partner at Escape Artists Productions and is the Chairman and Executive Vice President of the New York Football Giants, the only person with both an Academy Award and a Super Bowl ring. Steve won a Best Picture Oscar as a producer of Forrest Gump in 1994, and has received two Super Bowl rings as Chairman of the Giants, who won Super Bowls XLII and XLVI.
For more than three decades, Steve has successfully produced compelling stories in film and television, from the critically acclaimed television movie, The Burning Bed, to Risky Business, the sleeper hit that helped launch Tom Cruise’s career. His more recent credits with Escape Artists include The Pursuit of Happyness, The Weather Man, Seven Pounds, Knowing, The Taking of Pelham 123, The Back-Up Plan, Hope Springs, Sex Tape, The Equalizer and Unfinished Business. Steve’s upcoming film, Southpaw, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker and Rachel McAdams will be released in theaters this July.
Steve has been involved with the New York Giants since his father, Preston Robert Tisch, purchased 50 percent of the franchise in 1991. In 2005, Steve was named Executive Vice President, and with the passing of his father, he assumed the additional title of Chairman. Steve worked closely with John Mara, President & CEO of the Giants, on the planning and
construction of MetLife Stadium, which was completed in the spring of 2010 and ranked as the number one grossing stadium in the world in 2012. Tisch and Mara were named Best NFL Owners by Forbes in 2011. Steve also helped win the successful bid to bring Super Bowl XLVIII to MetLife Stadium in February 2014.
Steve is also active in philanthropy, generously contributing his time and resources to a variety of organizations. With a particular concern for the next generation, he has focused on their development in two areas in which he is passionate: sports and film.
In May 2014, at a White House summit on youth and sports concussions, President Obama announced Steve’s leadership gift to the David Geffen School of Medicine for the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program, the single largest gift from an individual to a medical center for a concussion-related initiative, with a particular emphasis on children and young athletes. Working with the NYC Public School Athletic League (PSAL), Steve created a program which provides qualified medical personnel to be present at all varsity and junior varsity contact football practices and games, allowing kids to get the benefits of participating in a team sport in a safer environment while providing greater peace of mind for their parents and families.
Recognizing the value of storytelling and its ability to increase dialogue and understanding, earlier this year Steve made a transformative gift to Tel Aviv University, elevating its world-renowned Department of Film and Television into a full school, now named The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television. The major investment will help nurture and grow creative, talented and diverse voices from across Israel, the region and the world.
Steve also contributes his time to other worthwhile institutions in the arts, health and education fields. He is on the Board of Trustees for The Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, and is also the naming benefactor of the new sports and fitness center at his alma mater, Tufts University.
PETER & ALAN RICHE – Producers
Alan Riche is a veteran producer/filmmaker who produced “Empire Records” starring Liv Tyler and Renee Zellweger,“Mousehunt” starring Nathan Lane directed by Gore Verbinski; “The Mod Squad” starring Claire Danes, “Deep Blue Sea” starring Samuel L. Jackson directed by Renny Harlin,“The Family Man” starring Nicolas Cage directed by Brett Ratner and “Bride Wars” starring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway directed by Garry Winick.
Alan Riche was President of Hughes Entertainment, filmmaker John Hughes’ Production Company, overseeing “Baby’s Day Out”, “Dennis The Menace” and “Home Alone II”. Previously he served as Executive Vice President TriStar Pictures, responsible for the development and production of over 20 films including “Hook”, “Sleepless in Seattle”, “The Fisher King” and “So I Married an Axe Murderer”.
Prior Executive positions held by Alan Riche were Senior Vice President DeLaurentiis Entertainment Group, supervising “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”; Executive Vice President Guber/Peters Productions.
Peter Riche began his career in production, and spent two years working with Scott Rudin at Scott Rudin Productions on films including “Addams Family”,“Nobody’s Fool”, “I.Q.”, “Clueless”, and the Stephen Sondheim, James LaPine Tony Award winning musical “Passion”. Peter Riche was a Talent and Literary Manager at More/Medavoy (now Management 360) where he was instrumental in Jason Biggs’s casting in “American Pie”, negotiated Ryan Reynolds’s deal to co-star in “Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place”, and co-represented Maria Bello, Mariska Hargitay, Josh Brolin, among others. He then joined Riche/Ludwig Productions as Vice President of Production where he developed over 100 screenplays including “Tarzan” and “Starsky & Hutch” for Warner Bros., “Bride Wars” for Fox/New Regency and he packaged and produced the motion picture “Tomcats”, Joe Roth’s first film at Revolution Studios.
Currently, Alan Riche and Peter Riche are partners in RicheProductions, producing several studio projects including “Tarzan” David Yates directed (WB), “Rex Mundi” with Johnny Depp (WB), “Staycation” with Todd Phillips (WB), “Southpaw” written by Kurt Sutter and Antoine Fuqua directed (Weinstein Company), “The Unsacred”(Screen Gems).
The Riches have a First Look Deal for features and network television at Warner Bros.
MARY VERNIEU & LINDSAY GRAHAM – Casting
Casting Directors Mary Vernieu and Lindsay Graham have enjoyed a long standing relationship with Antoine Fuqua since Mary first worked with Antoine on the critically acclaimed film Training Day. Since then, Mary and Lindsay have cast such films as, Looper, Black Swan, Silver Linings Playbook and Antoine Fuqua’s Brooklyn’s Finest, The Equalizer, and most recently, Southpaw. They are currently collaborating with Mr. Fuqua on his next feature, The Magnificent Seven.
JOHN HOULIHAN – Music Supervisor
Since working on the acclaimed music film Mr. Holland’s Opus John Houlihan has become a veteran Music Supervisor/Music Producer who has helped shape more than 70 feature films, numerous television series and dozens of popular soundtrack albums. Highlights include Training Day which earned a Best Actor Academy Award for Denzel Washington, all three Austin Powers films, and both of the Charlie’s Angels films. Recent releases include Looper, Don Jon, Let’s Be Cops, the animated film musical The Book of Life and the Keanu Reeve’s thriller John Wick.
Documentary project highlights are Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim’s U2 film called “From The Sky Down” and Davis’ acclaimed public education exploration “Waiting For ‘Superman’.” John was Co-Producer and Music Supervisor for the entertainment industry documentary film “SUPERMENSCH: The Legend Of Shep Gordon” which marks the directing debut of Mike Myers. John also worked on several films that were part the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns for President Barack Obama. He is currently working on the Antoine Fuqua directed drama Southpaw which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Forrest Whitaker and Rachel McAdams.
JAMES HORNER – Composer
Having composed the music for more than 130 film and television productions, including dozens of the most memorable and successful films of the past three decades, James Horner was among the world’s most prolific and celebrated film composers. He earned two Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for his music from James Cameron’s Titanic (one for Best Original Score and one for the Best Original Song “My Heart Will Go On”), eight additional Academy Award nominations, five additional Golden Globe nominations, and won six Grammy awards, including Song of the Year in both 1987 (for “Somewhere Out There”) and 1998 (for “My Heart Will Go On”). In April of 1998, Horner’s Titanic soundtrack album on Sony Classical completed an unprecedented run of 16 weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart, setting a new record for the most consecutive weeks at number 1 for a score album. It remains the largest selling instrumental score album in history, having sold nearly 10 million copies in the US and more than 27 million copies worldwide. Sony Classical’s multi-platinum sequel soundtrack album Back to Titanic featured additional music from the film as well as several new compositions by Horner based upon themes from his original score.
Known for his stylistic diversity, his other film credits include The Amazing Spider-Man, Black Gold, For Greater Glory, Karate Kid, Avatar, Apocalypto, Flight Plan, The New World, The Legend of Zorro, Chumscrubber, The Forgotten, Troy, Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, House of Sand and Fog, The Missing, Beyond Borders, The Four Feathers, Radio, Windtalkers, A Beautiful Mind, Iris, Enemy at the Gates, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Perfect Storm, Freedom Song, Bicentennial Man, Mighty Joe Young, The Mask Of Zorro, Deep Impact, The Devil’s Own, Ransom, Courage Under Fire, To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday, The Spitfire Grill, Braveheart, Apollo 13, Casper, Legends of the Fall, Clear and Present Danger, The Pagemaster, Bopha, The Pelican Brief, The Man Without a Face, Patriot Games, Thunderheart, Sneakers, The Rocketeer, Glory, In Country, Field of Dreams, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, The Land Before Time, Willow, An American Tail, The Name Of The Rose, Cocoon, Gorky Park, Cocoon and Cocoon: The Return, 48 Hours and Another 48 Hours, and Star Treks II and III. His most recent film projects are director Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem, director Patricia Riggen’s The 33, and director Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw.
Born in Los Angeles in 1953, Horner spent his formative years living in London where he attended the prestigious Royal College of Music. His initial interest was to become a composer of serious, avant-garde classical music. Returning to his native California, Horner continued his music education at the University of Southern California where he received a Bachelor of Music in Composition. He then transferred to the Masters program at UCLA where he earned his Doctorate in Music Composition and Theory. In 1980, Horner was approached by the American Film Institute and asked to score a short film, after which he left the academic world and began working for Roger Corman at New World Pictures, during which time he developed his craft. It was also where he became acquainted with a number of young directors including Ron Howard, for whom he would later score such films as Willow, Cocoon, and Apollo 13. Also during his time at New World, Horner met a young cameraman named James Cameron, with whom he would later collaborate on the hit sequel Aliens, and the two highest grossing films of all time, Avatar and Titanic. In the ensuing years, Horner went on to collaborate with many of Hollywood’s most noted and successful filmmakers, including Ed Zwick, Joe Johnston, Phil Alden Robinson, Steven Spielberg, William Friedkin, Mel Gibson, Oliver Stone, Philip Noyce, Michael Apted, Lasse Hallstrom, Norman Jewison, and Francis Ford Coppola.
Equally comfortable with lush orchestral scoring and contemporary electronic techniques, Horner likened his approach to composing to that of a painter, where the film serves as the canvas and where musical color is used to describe and support the film’s emotional dynamics. He was also noted for his integration of unusual ethnic instruments into the traditional orchestral palette in order to achieve exotic colors and textures. An accomplished conductor, Horner preferred to conduct his orchestral film scores directly to picture and without the use of click tracks or other mechanical timing devices. He also composed several concert works, including a work entitled Spectral Shimmers which was performed by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and A Forest Passage, commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreational Area in Ohio. His last concert works were Pas de Deux, a double concerto for violin, cello and orchestra commissioned by artists Mari and Håkon Samuelsen, and Collage: A Concerto for Four Horns and Orchestra, which was premiered by the London Philharmonic Orchestra in March of 2015.
JOHN REFOUA – Editor John Refoua’s work on SOUTHPAW marks his third collaboration with Director Antoine Fuqua, and he has now begun work on his fourth, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN remake starring Denzel Washington. Refoua first teamed with Fuqua on the hit OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN starring Gerard Butler and then THE EQUALIZER, also starring Denzel Washington. John is a key part of Antoine’s team and the two highly enjoy their collaboration. In addition to his work with Fuqua, John was nominated for an Academy Award®, a BAFTA, and an ACE Eddie for co-editing James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar. Refoua met Cameron while editing the Fox television series, “Dark Angel,” and after the show’s two-year run, Cameron asked him to help finish the edit of Ghosts of the Abyss, the 3D IMAX documentary about the sinking of the Titanic. They went on to co-edit Avatar, which took almost three years to complete. The film won Refoua the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Editing from the Broadcast Critics’ Association. In addition, Refoua collaborated with Tom Lennon and Ben Garant, the creators of “Reno 911!” He worked with them on the first five seasons of the Comedy Central television series, and edited their feature film, Reno 911!: Miami, as well. They continued working together on their next feature, Balls of Fury. Refoua also worked on the comedy 21 and Over, written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, best known for writing The Hangover.
At age 19, Refoua graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in economics. After a few years of travel and work in the business world, he decided to pursue his passion for the arts when a friend recommended editing.
MAURO FIORE – Director of Photography
Mauro Fiore was born November 17, 1964 in Marzi, Calabria, Italy and moved in 1971 to Chicago, Illinois. He graduated in 1982 from Palatine High School then continued on to Columbia College Chicago, earning his B.A. in 1987. Fiore resides in California and Nebraska with his spouse Christine Vollmer and their three children.
Fiore’s career began after moving to Hollywood with longtime friend Janusz Kaminski and joining Corman productions in 1987. As Kaminski rose to become Steven Spielberg’s director of photography, Fiore assisted him as both gaffer and second-unit cinematographer.
Fiore continued to work alongside Kaminski as a gaffer after Kaminski’s career began to take off when he became a director of photography. Steven Spielberg discovered the pair after their work on Wildflower, and shortly after hired the two men to shoot Schindler’s List. These films led to Michael Bay’s hiring of Fiore in 1996 as second unit director of photographer in The Rock, then shortly followed by Armageddon.
In 2000, Kaminski hired Fiore as his director of photography for his directorial debut, Lost Souls. Through their recent successes, both men’s reputations and careers quickly began to grow.
Director Antoine Fuqua, recognized Fiore’s cinematography on the remake of the 70s classic Get Carter and offered him the opportunity to shoot Training Day, which proved to be his breakthrough film. Fiore teamed up again with Fuqua in Tears of the Sun, then was offered Michael Bay’s The Island.
James Cameron hired Fiore for Avatar in 2009 after seeing his work in the jungle set films of Tears of the Sun and The Island. Immediately upon release, Fiore was highly praised for his work, which he won the Academy Award for Best Cinematographer, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, Florida Film Critics Circle Award, Phoenix Film Critics Society Award, New York Film Critics Circle Award (2nd Place) and was nominated for an American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Award, a BAFTA Award, British Society of Cinematographers Award, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, and an Online Film Critics Society Award.
Over his career, Fiore has worked with directors such as James Cameron, Michael Bay, and Steven Spielberg, and has shot many stars over the years including Sigourney Weaver, Jamie Foxx, Bruce Willis, Liam Neeson, Jessica Biel, Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke.
Early notable works of Fiore’s besides those listed above include: The Hire: Ticker, Smokin’ Aces, and The Kingdom. He was also the director of photography on the TV series Tracey Takes On… Fiore’s most notable recent work was Real Steel, and he is now currently working on Runner, Runner and Leningrad.
ABOUT THE CAST
JAKE GYLLENHAAL – Billy Hope
An Academy Award-nominated actor, Jake Gyllenhaal has established himself as one of the finest actors of his generation with an array of emotionally searing and physically challenging roles defining his body of work.
Gyllenhaal most recently starred in Dan Gilroy’s “Nightcrawler”, one of the actor’s boldest and most acclaimed performances to date. Playing an eccentric loner who finds his calling as an investigative crime journalist who will stop at nothing to get the story, Gyllenhaal received BAFTA, Golden Globe, SAG, Critics’ Choice, and Independent Spirit Award nominations and was recognized as Best Actor of 2014 from numerous critics groups.
In January 2015 Gyllenhaal made his Broadway debut in Nick Payne’s “Constellations”, which opened to rave reviews. The actor made his New York stage debut in 2012 starring in “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet”, for the Roundabout Theatre Company, which earned him nominations from the Drama League and Lucille Lortel Awards. It was his first stage performance since 2002, when he starred in Kenneth Lonergan’s revival of “This is Our Youth” on London’s West End, for which he won an Evening Standard Theater Award for “Outstanding Newcomer.”
Working with some of Hollywood’s greatest filmmakers in both independent and studio films, Gyllenhaal starred in Ang Lee’s classic “Brokeback Mountain”, for which he received an Oscar® nomination and won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor; David Ayer’s “End of Watch”, which placed in several critics’ Top 10 Films of 2012 including the National Board of Review’s Top Ten Independent Films; Dennis Villeneuve’s highly acclaimed films “Prisoners” and “Enemy”; Richard Kelly’s cult hit “Donnie Darko”; Jim Sheridan’s “Brothers”; David Fincher’s “Zodiac”; Sam Mendes’ “Jarhead”; John Madden’s “Proof”; Miguel Arteta’s “The Good Girl”; Brad Silberling’s “Moonlight Mile”; Nicole Holofcener’s “Lovely and Amazing”; Joe Johnston’s “October Sky”; and Ed Zwick’s “Love and Other Drugs”, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination.
This year Gyllenhaal will be seen alongside Josh Brolin and Jason Clarke in Baltasar Kormákur’s “Everest” for Working Title and Universal in September. The film is based on the true story of the tragic 1996 Mount Everest disaster. He will star in Antoine Fuqua’s boxing drama, “Southpaw” for The Weinstein Company opening on July 24. The story follows a prizefighter (Gyllenhaal) on his journey to the top, struggling to maintain his career while everything around him is falling apart. Gyllenhaal will also star opposite Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper in Jean-Marc Vallee’s “Demolition”, which was acquired by Fox Searchlight.
FOREST WHITAKER – Tick Willis
Forest Whitaker, one of Hollywood’s most accomplished actors, directors, and producers, has showcased his talents in a multitude of demanding and diverse roles. In 2007, he earned critical acclaim for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, receiving the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, SAG Award, and Golden Globe for Best Actor. Forest’s intensive character work in films such as Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Crying Game, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, and Bird, for which he was named Best Actor at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, have made him one of the most versatile performers of all time.
Forest has had an exciting year. He starred opposite Liam Neeson in 20th Century Fox’s Taken 3, which was released in January 2015. He will also be seen alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams in the upcoming feature film South Paw.
As president of Significant Productions, Forest aims to support young, talented filmmakers. In 2013, he co-produced Ryan Coogler’s directorial debut, Fruitvale Station. That film, the winner of Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize, was distributed by The Weinstein Company. Significant Productions’ latest two films, Dope and Songs My Brothers Taught Me, premiered to excellent reviews at Sundance Film Festival this year and were both selected for inclusion in the 2015 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.
Forest made his directorial debut with Strapped in 1993, for which he won the International Critics’ Award at the Toronto Film Festival. Since then, he has directed and executive produced Waiting to Exhale, Hope Floats, and First Daughter. He has produced numerous other award-winning films and documentaries and has executive produced several made-for-television movies and miniseries.
In 2012, Forest co-founded JuntoBox.com, a web-based production company that merges traditional, in-house film development with an online community to produce low-budget feature films. The platform provides a democratic, level playing field for all filmmakers, regardless of experience, to share their stories. Projects are selected and green lit based on the input of the entire community.
Forest has also ventured into music. He has a record label at Sony and has executive produced two albums, which have earned a total of fourteen Grammy nominations.
Forest was the game producer for DEWmocracy.com, an interactive video game and website that allowed people to select a new flavor of Mountain Dew. He also directed the short film that opened the game. This campaign turned into the most successful launch of a soft drink in Mountain Dew’s history.
Over the past decade, Forest has devoted much of his time to his humanitarian work. He is the founder and CEO of The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, co-founder and chair of the International Institute for Peace, and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation. In 2014, he started collaborating with the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict as an Advocate for Children Affected by War, a topic on which he was invited to speak before the UN Security Council in September of that year.
NAOMIE HARRIS – Angela Rivera
Naomie Harris is a critically acclaimed actress in film, television, and theatre.
Harris is currently in production on the next instalment of the James Bond franchise, SPECTRE, reprising her role as ‘Miss Moneypenny’ opposite Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes and Christoph Waltz. The film is set to be released by Sony Pictures on November 6, 2015. She was first seen in the 23rd James Bond instalment, SKYFALL, directed by Sam Mendes, which won the 2013 BAFTA Film Award for Outstanding British Film and went on to be Sony Pictures’ highest grossing film ever with a worldwide box office of over $918 million.
This summer, Harris will be seen in Antoine Fuqua’s SOUTHPAW co-starring alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams and Forest Whitaker. Harris plays Angela, a social worker who tries to reunite former middleweight boxing champion Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal) with his daughter after the tragic loss of his wife leaves his life spiraling out of control. The film will be released by The Weinstein Company on July 24, 2015.
Harris also recently completed production on Susanna White’s independent film, OUR KIND OF TRAITOR opposite Ewan McGregor and Damian Lewis, and Andy Serkis’ JUNGLE BOOK: ORIGINS adapted from the Rudyard Kipling novel about an orphaned boy raised by animals in the wild. OUR KIND OF TRAITOR follows a couple who find themselves positioned between the Russian Mafia and British Secret Service as they are lured into a Russian oligarch’s plans to defect. In JUNGLE BOOK: ORIGINS Harris plays She-wolf ‘Nisha’ alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett who also lend their voices to the film which is slated to be released by Warner Bros in October 2017.
Last year, Harris starred in the Nelson Mandela biopic MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM opposite Idris Elba. For her performance as Mandela’s controversial second wife Winnie, Harris was nominated for two London Critics Circle Awards and an NAACP Image Award.
The London-born actress had her first major breakthrough performance in 2002 with Danny Boyle’s 28 DAYS LATER and went on to receive further international recognition and a BAFTA Orange Rising Star nomination for her role as the voodoo witch Tia Dalma in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: Dead Man’s Chest and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: At World’s End. Other major feature film credits include Michael Mann’s MIAMI VICE; Michael Winterbottom’s TRISTRAM SHANDY: A COCK & BULL STORY; STREET KINGS with Keanu Reeves and Forrest Whittaker; SEX & DRUGS & ROCK & ROLL with Andy Serkis; and Justin Chadwicks’ THE FIRST GRADER.
Harris has also starred at The National Theatre in London in Danny Boyle’s production of FRANKENSTEIN opposite Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. And, on television, in the BBC’s SMALL ISLAND for which she was awarded Best Actress at The Royal Television Society Awards in 2010. Her other TV credits include: BLOOD AND OIL; the UK’s popular television adaptation of Zadie Smith’s bestselling novel, WHITE TEETH; as well as the adaptation of the novel POPPY SHAKESPEARE, and Peter Kosminsky’s THE PROJECT.
Harris graduated with honours from Cambridge University with a degree in ‘Social and Political Science’, and then trained at the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
CURTIS “50 CENT” JACKSON – Jordan Mains
What began as music chart dominance for the rap music phenomenon Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, has quickly transformed to success in corporate America. 50 Cent is a multi-tiered business mogul to be reckoned with. Recognized as one of the most talented and prolific music artists of his time, 50 Cent has managed to leverage his star power into record breaking brand extensions encompassing a broad spectrum of businesses including music ownership, artist management, film production, footwear and apparel, fragrance, video games, publishing, headphones and health drinks and supplements. With annual sales quickly approaching $300 million from a variety of business interest along with numerous business endeavors on the horizon, 50 Cent has cemented his position in the industry as both a business and entertainment powerhouse.
50 Cent exploded on the music scene in 2003 and has been rewriting hip hop history ever since. Get Rich or Die Tryin’, his debut album, made history when it sold 872,000 copies, breaking the record for first week sales of any major label debut in the entire SoundScan era. It was a #1 Billboard album for six weeks and was certified platinum 9-times by the Recording Industry Association of America. To date, 50 Cent has sold more than 22 million albums worldwide and has received numerous awards and 13 Grammy nominations throughout his career. The release of his third album, Curtis, released in September 2007, dominated the album charts selling over one million copies worldwide and garnered two Grammy nominations for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Solo Performance. In November 2009, 50 Cent released his fourth studio album, Before I Self Destruct, which received wide critical acclaim. On August 25, 2014, 50 Cent and the recently reunited G-Unit surprised fans releasing “The Beauty of Independence” EP at midnight and on March 3, 2015 they released “The Beast is G-Unit” EP. In June 2014, 50 Cent debuted his fifth studio album, Animal Ambition and currently, is gearing up for his next studio album Street King Immortal which includes several featured guests including Eminem and Chris Brown.
The enormous success of his music career paved the way for 50 Cent the rapper to become 50 Cent the record company executive. As CEO of G-Unit Records, 50 Cent oversees a stellar roster of music artists including Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks among others, many of which have garnered multi-platinum status under his aegis.
In 2005, Jackson founded the production company, G-Unit Films and Television, producing a wide variety of content across various platforms.
In a little over 18 months Jackson has sold projects to six different networks. Among these is “Power,” a STARZ drama in which he not only co-stars but also serves as co-creator and executive producer. “Power” debuted in June 2014 and was renewed for a second season, premiering June 6, 2015, after only one episode. “Power’s” August 2nd season finale had the highest ratings through the season, more than doubling the premiere and it generated the largest concentration (71%) of African-American viewers of any scripted premium series since 2006. Jackson also serves as executive producer of the critically acclaimed series “Dream School” for SundanceTV.
Nominated for a GLAAD Media Award in its first season, “Dream School,” had its second season air in fall 2014.
In 2005, Jackson made his feature film debut with the Paramount Pictures film, “Get Rich or Die Tryin,’” a loose biographic picture which chronicled his life growing up in poverty surrounded by negative influences on the streets of Queens, NY, as he rose to stardom as a rap star. Jackson continues to expand his film repertoire and has appeared in the Golden Globe nominated war drama, “Home of The Brave,” “Righteous Kill” starring Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, and “Streets of Blood” with Val Kilmer and Sharon Stone. In 2009, he released “Before I Self Destruct”, a film he directed, starred in, and executive produced inspired by the album of the same name. In the same year he founded Cheetah Vision, a film production company. In 2010, Jackson appeared alongside Chace Crawford in the Joel Schumacher film, “Twelve,” which garnered great reviews for his performance. Jackson produced and starred in the projects “Gun” and “All Things Fall Apart” in 2012 by Imagine Entertainment. Jackson continues to make a name for himself in Hollywood and was featured in films including: “Frozen Ground” with Nicolas Cage and John Cusack, “Escape Plan” starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Freelancers” with Robert DeNiro and Forrest Whittaker and “The Prince” with Bruce Willis and John Cusack. He filmed “Spy” with Melissa McCarthy and Jude Law, which is being released on June 5, 2015 and also co-stars in the Antoine Fuqua directed boxing drama, “Southpaw,” along with Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker and Rachel McAdams coming out July 24, 2015.
FASHION / FRAGRANCE
The segue from music to the fashion industry was a natural brand extension for 50 Cent as his personal style was constantly emulated by his fans and has been known to resonate with the masses. Armed with a relentless entrepreneurial spirit and dovetailed with an innate sense of style, 50 Cent joined forces with Reebok to create G-Unit Footwear Collection by RBK in 2004. To date, the collection has generated sales in excess of $70 million and has become an integral component of Reebok’s worldwide sales growth, as well as a central part in their promotional and advertising efforts, in which 50 Cent took part.
Following the successful launch of his signature sneaker, 50 Cent launched G. Unit Apparel by Ecko Unlimited, a joint venture deal with urban fashion designer Mark Ecko. The collection which includes denim, t-shirts, sweaters, and outerwear generates more than $100 million at retail.
50 Cent entered the luxurious fragrance category launching his premiere fragrance, Power by Fifty Cent, which was sold exclusively at Macys nationwide.
In 2014 along with Derek Jeter, Carmelo Anthony and Timbaland, 50 Cent became a partner in FRIGO® by RevolutionWear, a game changing collection of men’s undergarments.
50 Cent joined forces with Vivendi Universal, the leader in interactive games, to create 50 Cent: Bulletproof, an action-packed game featuring 50 Cent as the lead character, and members of the G-Unit Records artist roster as cohorts in the fight against crime. The popularity of the game made it the most successful video game in the Vivendi Universal catalogue selling over one million units. The highly anticipated sequel, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, which was released in 2009, received wide critical and commercial acclaim.
Following the success of his New York Times bestselling autobiography, From Pieces to Weight, 50 Cent decided to expand his publishing empire. In an unprecedented deal with MTV Books, he established G-Unit Books to create street fiction – gritty, true-to-life stories told in the form of hip hop novellas. In January 2007, G-Unit Books released three titles written by some of the most prolific writers in the genre, Nikki Turner, Noire and K. Elliott with titles such as Baby Brother, Death Before Dishonor and The Ski Mask Way. This past summer, G-Unit Books simultaneously released Harlem Heat, Blow and Derelict which brought together 50 Cent with novelists K’wan, Relentless Aaron and Mark Anthony. In September 2009, 50 Cent debuted The 50th Law, a groundbreaking collaboration with bestselling author Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power) which made the New York Times Best Sellers list in its first week. Following the success of The 50th Law, he released “Playground,” a semi-autobiographical mediation on bullying for teens, which marked his first novel targeting young adults. In 2013 50 Cent parlayed his passion for staying fit and healthy into a book titled, Formula 50. Formula 50 is a six-week mind-body transformation plan that focuses on metabolic resistance training (MRT) and offers nutritional advice, while also helping readers develop the mental toughness and motivation to stick with the plan.
50 Cent is committed to a healthy and active lifestyle. In an unprecedented move in the industry, 50 Cent partnered with Glacéau, the leader in healthy beverages to create his signature drink, Formula 50, an all-natural low-calorie drink which provides all the nutrients necessary to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Not only was 50 Cent the name and face of Formula 50, his astute business acumen also led him to undertake an executive role as a company shareholder. Since the launch in 2004, Formula 50 has gained tremendous popularity among its core audience. With annual sales topping $120 million, Formula 50 is still one of the top 5 flavors in the vitaminwater profile.
The escalating success of his career has allowed 50 Cent to follow through with his dream of giving back to the community that has supported him over the years. In 2005, he established the G-Unity Foundation, which focuses on improving the quality of life for low income or underserved communities by supporting nonprofit organizations that concentrate on the academic enrichment of children and supporting after school activities. Since its inception, the foundation has created the G-Unity Scholarship Fund at Queensborough Community College in New York and issued thousands of dollars in grant money to various nonprofit organizations. In 2008, he partnered with legendary star, Bette Midler, to open the Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Community Garden in Jamaica, Queens his childhood neighborhood. 50 Cent continues to expand his foundation through various philanthropic initiatives, which will continue to benefit his hometown of Queens, NY, and beyond.
In September 2011, he launched SK Energy, an energy shot with a built in charity component: every purchase of Street King provides a meal for a child in need around the world in partnership with the U.N World Food Programme. 50 Cent is committed to the fight against world hunger and has set a goal to provide one billion meals over the next five years. To date, SK Energy has provided 3.5 million meals in Africa.
Additionally, through a partnership with Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger relief charity, 50 Cent and SMS Audio are dedicated to helping provide 1 million meals a year to Feeding America on behalf of local food banks, with a portion of each US sale going towards to cause.
In late 2011 50 Cent formed a consumer electronics company, SMS Audio. The company, which stands for studio mastered sound, manufactures high quality headphones and electronics. The company quickly grew under CEO 50 Cent and President Brian M. Nohe’s leadership and is now distributed in over 60 countries. A global audio headphone and accessories brand, SMS Audio is dedicated to improving the way people around the world experience music by combining technology, function and style to bring a superior level of sound, durability and fashion to every product. SMS Audio includes Timbaland and Carmelo Anthony as two of its celebrity partners.
SMS Audio offers a full range of premium headphones, ear buds, and accessories designed to meet the needs of various consumer segments. The SMS Audio line includes both wired and wireless headphone options, as well as a Sport line of sweat-resistant models in addition to the officially licensed Star Wars-branded on-ear headphones.
In August 2014, SMS Audio together with Intel Corporation announced a collaboration to develop the first heart-pounding personal audio system. Now available, the BioSport In-Ear Headphones integrate biometric sensors in a custom heart rate monitor in-ear headphone to collect fitness data and help achieve one’s peak physical performance.
In March 2015, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts entered into a multi-year strategic alliance naming SMS Audio the official headphones of Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California.
In 2012 50 Cent launched SMS Promotions, with the idea that he would be able to bridge the gap between entertainment and boxing. He currently has 12 fighters signed to his roster including Junior Middle Weight Contender James Kirkland and Light Weight Contender Yuriokis Gamboa.
OONA LAURENCE – Leila Hope
Oona Laurence started acting at age five in her Dad’s film Days Dance, and has since been in films and on stage in both dramatic roles and comedies. On stage in New York she’s been Woody’s daughter in Woody Guthrie Dreams and won an audience award as a philosophical banana in The Cosmic Fruit Bowl. On film, she’s been reincarnated in Reinc., turned the tables on a kidnapper in the Utah high desert in Penny Dreadful (which won 3 dozen awards in festivals worldwide), learned Romanian for Esther, and appeared with F. Murray Abraham and Ralph Macchio in A Little Game, her first feature. She won a Tony and was nominated for a Grammy as one of the original Matildas on Broadway. Since completing her run in MATILDA, she has wrapped shooting on The Grief of Others with director Patrick Wang, and workshopped the role of Young Amelie in a new musical based on the movie AMELIE. This past summer, Oona starred in the 2015 SXSW hit Lamb opposite actor/director Ross Partridge, and was named a breakout star of the festival.
Oona recently shot the upcoming boxing drama Southpaw as “Leila Hope”, daughter of Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams. Currently, she in New Zealand shooting the newly created role of “Natalie” in Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, the remake of the 1977 classic children’s movie.
Oona credits her dad who is a dedicated NY actor with helping her prepare for roles and auditions and her mom for keeping her healthy in mind and spirit and making sure she eats nutritious healthy food. When not working Oona spends much of her free time with her sisters, Aimee and Jeté, who are also up and coming young actresses. They love the outdoors and enjoy hiking, biking and running and they are all singers and dancers as well. Oona is represented by CESD Talent Agency, ZOOM Talent Management and Peikoff/Mahan.
RACHEL MCADAMS – Maureen Hope
Rachel McAdams’ transformative performances have established her as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after and respected actors.
McAdams is currently in production on the second season of Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective. She plays “Sheriff Ani Bezzirades”, a Ventura County Sheriff’s detective whose uncompromising ethics put her at odds with others and the system she serves. She stars alongside Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch, and Vince Vaughn. The series will premiere on June 21, 2015 on HBO.
Prior to that, McAdams wrapped production on three other projects. Most recent being Thomas McCarthy’s Spotlight, starring alongside Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo. The film tells the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese. She then shot Wim Wenders’ Everything Will Be Fine starring opposite James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Robert Naylor. The film is a story about a writer, Tomas (Franco), who accidentally causes the death of a child while driving and spends the next 12 years examining the effect of the tragedy on his life and that of Kate, the child’s mother. Finally, McAdams lent her voice as a character in Mark Osborne’s The Little Prince alongside James Franco and Jeff Bridges. It was just announced the film will premiere the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
She will next star in Cameron Crowe’s Aloha, opposite Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone. The romantic comedy centers on a defense contractor who falls for an Air Force pilot after he is assigned to oversee the launch of a weapons satellite from Hawaii. The film is slated to be released by Sony Pictures on May 29, 2015.
McAdams was last seen in Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright and Willem Dafoe. The spy thriller, based on the popular John le Carré novel, is set in present-day Hamburg, Germany, where a mysterious half-Chechen, half-Russian man, brutally scarred from torture, surfaces in the city’s Islamic community, on the run and desperate for help. The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and Roadside was released July 2014.
McAdams starred in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris which earned McAdams a SAG nomination for “Outstanding Performance By A Cast In A Motion Picture” alongside cast mates Owen Wilson, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Marion Cotillard, Carla Bruni, and Michael Sheen. The film also earned Golden Globe nominations for “Best Motion Picture- Musical or Comedy,” “Best Director,” “Best Actor,” and “Best Screenplay” and is Woody Allen’s highest grossing film to date. That same year, she reprised her role as Irene Adler in Sherlock Homes: A Game of Shadows opposite Robert Downey Jr.
Previous film credits include Michael Sucsy’s The Vow, opposite Channing Tatum, Richard Curtis’ About Time opposite Domnhall Gleeson and Bill Nighhy, Terrance Mallick’s To The Wonder opposite Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Brian De Palma’s Passion opposite Noomi Rapace, Roger Michell’s Morning Glory opposite Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford, Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Neil Burger’s The Lucky Ones, Married Life (Toronto Film Festival 2007 Premiere), The Family Stone opposite Diane Keaton and Sarah Jessica Parker, Wes Craven’s Red Eye opposite Cillian Murphy, Wedding Crashers opposite Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Christopher Walken, Nick Cassavette’s The Notebook opposite Ryan Gosling and Mean Girls.
In 2005, McAdams received ShoWest’s Supporting Actress of the Year Award as well as the Breakthrough Actress of the Year at the Hollywood Film Awards. In 2009, she was awarded with ShoWest’s Female Star of the Year.
McAdams was born and raised in a small town outside of London, Ontario. Involved with theater growing up, she went on to graduate with honors with a BFA degree in Theater from York University.
SKYLAN BROOKS – Hoppy
The 16-year-old L.A. native, earned his first leading role in the 2013 Sundance hit film, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete. Skylan played ‘Mister’ – a young, inner city kid, forced to survive on his own during a Summer in New York, when his mother is taken by authorities. The performance earned Skylan nominations from the Acapulco Black Film Festival and Black Reel Awards for his role in Defeat. He has most recently been set to play one of the four leads in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Netflix series, The Get Down – a hip hop drama set in 1970’s New York.
He will next be seen opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams in Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw. He’s repped by Allagash Entertainment and Hirsch Wallerstein.
BEAU KNAPP – Jon Jon
Beau Knapp was born April 17 in Los Angeles. His father Harry is a film producer and his mother a clothing designer. In 2009 the family relocated to Colorado but his parents feared that the teen was directionless and moved the family back to Los Angeles in the hopes that the young man would find a passion. He found the Film Academy in Burbank California but it just didn’t feel right and in 2010 he stumbled upon a coach in Venice, Ca. and began to thrive. He signed with a manager who happened to be the coach’s daughter and two years into his study he sent an audition tape to producer David Chase and the studio flew him into New York to meet for the feature film “Not Fade Away.” While he didn’t book that job, Hollywood agents took notice. While studying the craft he met a fellow student Lucy , they soon fell in love and shortly thereafter the young couple found they were about to become parents. Out of work with a child on the way he booked his first film, the J.J. Abrams film “Super 8” and then another feature starring Luke Evans, through whom he met his now manager and quickly signed with CAA. In 2013 he co-starred with Brendan Thwaites in “The Signal” which played to great reviews at the Sundance Film Festival and was then released by Focus Features. Later that year he shot a short entitled “Wracked.” The film was nominated for Best Short, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor (Knapp) and the Golden Egg Short Film Festival. Next up was an interesting independent film starring opposite Sophie Lowe “What Lola Wants” which will be released next year. Things started moving very quickly for the young talent. He had a role in the Warner Brothers Liam Neeson starrer “Run All Night,.” The young actor was booked for a role in the coveted “Ant Man” with Edgar Wright directing. Unfortunately Wright bowed out and the studio put the film on hold while looking for another director. With a second child on the way and a film in limbo, other work beckoned and he moved on to “Southpaw” the Antoine Fuqua directed film starring Jake Gylenhall and was doing double duty on the upcoming film “Finest Hours” opposite Chris Pine, Casey Affleck and Holliday Grainger, a true life story about a coast guard rescue in 1952. Next up was the role of a villain in the Warner Brothers film Nice Guys, directed by Shane Black and produced by Joel Silver.
At the start of 2015, Knapp has two independent projects lined up, “Vincent – Roxxy” with Emile Hirsch, Zoe Kravitz and Emery Cohen and directed by Gary Michael Schultz. He recently completedt “Juveniles” a feature directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Nico Sabenorio. He is currently working on the new Ang Lee film, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.”
Knapp lives in Los Angeles with his partner Lucy and their two children.
VICTOR ORTIZ – Ramone
Victor Ortiz is a living, breathing example of The American Dream, the dream of overcoming childhood challenge to conquer the world. Having owned World and National boxing championships he is now tackling the even more bruising world of entertainment with a key role in “Expendables 3” teamed with such action film champs as Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenneger, Wesley Snipes and Harrison Ford. In over his weight?.. not from word Stallone is spreading about his debut performance. Ortiz’ personal charisma and charm, another key element of entertainment stardom, was evident in his first dance steps into showbiz, “Dancing with the Stars.”
It was a difficult and unlikely journey for a kid from a broken home in a small town in Kansas to the bright lights of the boxing ring. When Victor was only seven, his mother abandoned the family and when he was twelve his father made his departure as well, leaving Victor and his two siblings to fend for themselves. For months, the three children lived on their own in a rundown trailer in their rural Kansas community until Social Services ripped the three children apart and placed them in separate foster homes. Fortunately, the family who came to his aid did so with loving care, and his early evident talent in music, piano and vocal, were encouraged. But he also learned lessons of fending for himself. When he was fifteen, Victor learned the meaning of a hard day’s work. While other kids were going to homecoming dances and a getting a shiny new pair of car keys on their sixteenth birthday, Victor was spending his time roofing houses, hauling furniture and taking orders at a fast food drive thru. At the age of 18, Victor became his own legal guardian and had finally saved enough money to reunite part of his family by legally adopting his younger brother.
He is currently preparing for a return to the ring at about the time of his debut film. The nickname “Vicious” describes Victor when he’s in the ring, but his million dollar smile is a preview to his heart of gold. His ability to connect with people on a human level has kept the spotlight from blinding him. Realizing the importance of hard work, dedication, and family at an early age, Victor always finds a way to give back. From having almost nothing to obtaining nearly everything, Victor Ortiz is ready to take the stage and shine in a new spotlight.
Stallone, a film giant not only as an Oscar-winning superstar, but as producer, director and writer, recognized Ortiz’ promise when Victor audaciously went up against some very established young actors in auditioning for “Expendables 3.” During the filming, Victor had the courage to tell Stallone how his performances in the “Rambo” and “Rocky” film had inspired him. “I wanted to be Rocky,” he told his film boss, who responded that Rocky was a made-up character. “In my life he was and still is real,” Victor affirmed.
Stallone is not the first champ to recognize the potential of Victor Ortiz. In the early establishing period of his boxing career, Ortiz came to the attention of one of the ring’s greatest stars and greatest fighters, Oscar De La Hoya, who brought into the savvy and caring direction of his own management firm, Golden Boy Entertainment . In an important way, Ortiz had fought his way to that life-changing good fortune. Victor and his brother had moved out to California in search of a better and brighter future. Victor had always been a fan of boxing as a way to release the tension built up from the frustrations and hardships in his life. Boxing is a sport that doesn’t require expensive equipment or even a fancy gym, but draws from raw emotion and strength. For the first time in Victor’s life, he realized he could succeed in something even with his tainted past.
Boxing and acting don’t occupy all of Ortiz life. He snowboards, skates and builds his own cars and love loves country music, and just maybe hasn’t given up the childhood dream of becoming a singer.
RITA ORA – Maria Escobar
Rita Ora is a British songwriter, singer, and actress. Ora is currently featured on the smash singles “Black Widow“ with fellow superstar Iggy Azalea, “Doing It” with Charli XCX, and “NY Raining” with up and coming rapper Charles Hamilton. Ora is currently readying her second full length album to be released later this year, while she serves as a judge on The Voice UK on BBC. Ora’s first and certified platinum album Ora (2012), including number one singles “R.I.P.”, “How We Do (Party)”, and “Hot Right Now”, dominated the UK charts. Ora has proved herself a force to be reckoned with, from her European tour with rock giants Coldplay, to collaborating with rap phenom Drake, to her headline Radioactive tour across the UK. Ora’s influence expands well beyond the boundaries of music, being recognized for her powerful fashion sense with a number of global partnerships and collaborations. Ora just launched her third pack in a three season long #unstoppable collection with global brand adidas Originals. Ora was also featured in a campaign for legendary designer Roberto Cavalli, as well as for fashion icon Donna Karan, all while she continues her ongoing partnership with makeup brand Rimmel London. In addition to her growing influence in fashion and music, Ora will also appear in a number of upcoming films, including The Weinstein Co.’s Southpaw starring Jake Gyllenhaal following a turn as Mia Grey in the highly anticipated 50 Shades of Grey trilogy.
MIGUEL GOMEZ – Miguel “Magic” Escobar
Miguel Gomez is quickly establishing himself as a unique and rising talent through his current and upcoming projects.
He most recently wrapped production on Season 2 of Guillermo del Toro’s critically acclaimed FX series THE STRAIN. On THE STRAIN, he plays the street-smart Augustin ‘Gus’ Elizade who joins forces with Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) to wage war for the fate of humanity. Last year, the Critic’s Choice Television Awards honored the show with the Most Exciting New Series award. THE STRAIN is scheduled to return this July.
Gomez can next be seen in theaters across the country opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams in Antoine Fuqua’s highly anticipated SOUTHPAW. In the film, Gomez plays Miguel Escobar, the rival of Jake Gyllenhaal’s boxer Billy Hope. The film will be released on July 24th by the Weinstein Company.
His previous credits include Carl Franklin’s BLESS ME ULTIMA, as well as THE DOMINO EFFECT opposite James D’Arcy for Oscar-nominated director Paula van der Oest. Gomez also appeared as the lifeguard “Ramon” in the critically-acclaimed “Miami” episode of LOUIE.
THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY and WANDA PICTURES Present A RICHE Production In Association with ESCAPE ARTISTS and FUQUA FILMS / An ANTOINE FUQUA Film/ JAKE GYLLENHAAL FOREST WHITAKER ‘SOUTHPAW’ NAOMIE HARRIS CURTIS “50 CENT” JACKSON OONA LAURENCE SKYLAN BOOKS BEAU KNAPP and RACHEL MCADAMS VICTOR ORTIZ RITA ORA MIGUEL ROBIN GOMEZ DOMINC COLON MALCOLM MAYS
MARY VERNIEU, C.S.A.
LINDSAY GRAHAM, C.S.A.
JOHN REFOUA, A.C.E.
DEREK R. HILL
Director of Photography
MAURO FIORE, ASC
TODD BLACK, PGA
JASON BLUMENTHAL, PGA
PETER RICHE, PGA
ALAN RICHE, PGA
ANTOINE FUQUA, PGA