Rage in the belly: this famous rapper inspired the film with Jake Gyllenhaal


Released in 2015, “The Rage in the Belly” allowed Jake Gyllenhaal to once again demonstrate all his talent and confirm his status as an eclectic actor. But the movie was originally meant to be a lot different, and Gyllenhaal shouldn’t have been a part of it.

A boxer in search of redemption in Rage in the belly

In 2015, Antoine Fuqua unveiled his new feature film, Rage in the stomach. The film tells us the story of a boxer’s fall and his attempt to come back up the hill, both inside and outside the ring. After a difficult childhood, Billy Hope managed to reach the heights of boxing by becoming world champion. Outside the rings, everything also smiles on him. He lives in a luxurious house with his wife Maureen, whom he has known since childhood, and their daughter Leila.

But when Maureen is suddenly killed her world falls apart. Distraught, he sinks into a downward spiral and makes bad decisions. The boxer then loses his house, and especially the custody of his daughter. At the edge of the abyss, Billy decides to raise his head, and begins his path to redemption …

Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) – Rage in the belly © SND

This is Jake gyllenhaal who plays Billy Hope in Rage in the belly. The actor once again offers an impressive performance in the shoes of the boxer. To support him, Rachel McAdams plays Maureen, and Forest Whitaker, Naomie Harris and 50 Cent Some of the main supporting roles are there. As for Leila, she is played by Oona Laurence, whose performance was critically acclaimed upon the release of the feature film. But the film’s cast had some changes during the development of the project. Originally, the main character of Rage in the belly had to have another face.

Eminem as Billy Hope?

It’s Kurt Sutter, the interpreter of Otto Delaney in Sons of Anarchy and creator of the series, who wrote Rage in the belly, for what was his first screenplay. He explained that the basic idea for the film was inspired by the story of rapper Eminem. The feature film was actually originally considered an unofficial sequel to 8 Mile, which tells about the beginnings in the music of Eminem. It was to serve as a metaphor for the singer’s life after the events of Curtis Hanson’s film.

8 Mile
Jimmy Smith Jr. (Eminem) – 8 Mile © Universal Pictures

And the rapper, who played his own part in 8 Mile, was once again to hold the poster of Rage in the belly. He had initially agreed to play the role of Billy. But Eminem finally gave up, preferring to devote himself to his music. If he still remained close to the project, for which he produced the soundtrack, he had to be replaced. That’s when the production turned to Jake Gyllenhaal to play Billy. And Rachel McAdams joined him to lend her features to Maureen.

But once the new cast was assembled, another change took place, this time at the supporting role level. Lupita Nyong’o was first officially announced as Angela, the social worker who takes care of Leila when her custody is taken away from Billy. But the actress also had to abandon the project, for a question of timing. The shooting encroached on that of the seventh installment of Star Wars, The force awakens, in which she plays Maz Kanata. Naomie Harris then replaced her in Fuqua’s film. Like many Hollywood feature films, Rage in the belly could therefore have looked like a film very different from the one we know today.

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