In Southpaw, Rachel McAdams plays a fierce mother, alongside co-star Jake Gyllenhaal. In fact, she’s so fierce that McAdams even did some of the boxing scenes herself.
“Maureen’s kind of tiger mom a little bit,” McAdams says in a featurette exclusive to Refinery29. “She doesn’t want anyone coming anywhere near her family. She’s super protective maybe to a fault even.”
Maureen’s spoiler-y fate is revealed in the trailers for the movie, which is due out July 24, but the interview lends great insight into the character and McAdams’s process. To prepare for the role, McAdams — who can currently be seen as the world-weary detective Ani Bezzerides on True Detective — researched interviews with boxer’s wives. “I did a little bit of boxing with his coach, Terry Claybon, who’s amazing, just to get a sense of what it is,” McAdams explains. “Just to understand it better.”
But director Antoine Fuqua also threw McAdams some curveballs, including a surprise kiss on her first day from Gyllenhaal, who plays Billy Hope. “I literally told Billy just go grab her, pull her up on the ring and just start kissing her, and she went right there with him,” Fuqua says.
The film is written by Sons of Anarchy‘s Kurt Sutter.