Adrien Brody, Michelle Rodriguez and Antonio Banderas were among the celebrities at the event aboard a private yacht.
Festival delegate general Thierry Fremaux introduced the sneak screening, which was also attended by singers Mary J. Blige and Charli XCX, as well as models Adriana Lima and Dita Von Teese, by praising Gyllenhaal’s performance as “one of his best.”
Fremaux, a self-proclaimed sporting enthusiast, said the movie beautifully captures a sport that usually doesn’t read well on the bigscreen.
“This sport is so well-filmed on television that it’s very hard to get the same feeling in the cinema on screen like Martin Scorsese did with ‘Raging Bull,’” he said. “But this film is so strong and credible. We believe Jake is a boxer first.”
Audiences were shown a sneak peek of the film at the Weinstein Co.’s Cannes presentation last week, where Harvey Weinstein himself vowed that Gyllenhaal would get an Oscar nomination for the Antoine Fuqua-directed, Kurt Sutter-penned pic.
“We’ll get revenge,” Weinstein said. “This transformation in ‘Southpaw’ is amazing,”
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Weinstein revealed that “Southpaw” had been selected for the Cannes Film Festival, but couldn’t play in competition because Gyllenhaal was a member of the jury.
“Southpaw,” which also stars Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, hits theaters on July 24.