'Southpaw' seeks more extras

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It’s not too late to try to be an extra for “Southpaw,” the Jake Gyllenhaal movie that will start shooting in Western Pennsylvania in June.

Hope Films Inc. has scheduled four more open calls, including one from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Monroeville Convention Center (South entrance), 209 Mall Blvd., Monroeville 15146. Pittsburghers will be needed for unspecified interior and exterior scenes.

Almost 700 people signed up at a recent Indiana, Pa., session but the production will need 300 extras a day for 10 days to play boxing spectators. Those chosen will have the chance to work multiple days.

Three more open calls have been set: June 3 and June 4, from 4 to 7 p.m. both days, along with June 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., all at the Indiana Mall, 2334 Oakland Ave., Indiana 15701. Enter near Sears and look for signs.

Hopefuls — men and women 18 and older, all types and ethnicities — can also download a casting form at www.movieextraspittsburgh.com and return it by mail.The Indiana scenes will take place in mid- to late June and filming will shift to Pittsburgh from early July to early August. Extras will be paid $58 for eight hours and overtime after that.

A new synopsis for the movie, being directed by Pittsburgh native Antoine Fuqua, has been released with more details:

Cocky, aggressive, volatile middleweight champion Billy Hope (Mr. Gyllenhaal) fully expects to ride out his career with his massive winnings, adoring fans, beloved wife, Maureen, and their 10-year-old daughter, Leila.

When Billy’s temper triggers a fight and then a shootout that leaves Maureen dead, Billy finds his life spiraling out of control. After he loses his house, money and then, Leila, to a group foster home, he begins to find his way back to some kind of balance with the help of amateur trainer Titus “Tick” Willis.

Tick has his own demons but he proves to be the perfect trainer to make Billy a better fighter, man and father. Forest Whitaker has been rumored for Tick but no casting for the role has been confirmed.

Namath movie in play?

Will Broadway Joe’s story finally make it to the big screen?

Talk about a movie based on Joe Namath, the Hall of Fame quarterback with blue-collar roots in Beaver Falls, has resurfaced with director James Mangold’s name attached.

Mangold, who made the Johnny Cash film “Walk the Line,” is in early talks to bring the life and times of Namath to the big screen for Fox 2000, The Hollywood Reporter said on its website.

No word on who might play Namath but, five years ago, Jake Gyllenhaal’s name was floated in connection with a different project about the legendary athlete and playboy. He, of course, is about to film “Southpaw” although five years is a long time in the movie business.

As my colleague Ron Cook once wrote: Until Namath came along, the Super Bowl was super in name only.

“It wasn’t until Namath led the Jets against the outrageously favored Colts — then in Baltimore — that it became a national treasure. Namath talked the talk before the game by brashly predicting a Jets’ victory, then walked the walk by producing their almost surreal 16-7 win. The NFL would never be the same… ”

Elvis hailed him as a hero and Namath once asked Muhammad Ali on TV, “So, Muhammad, how does it feel to be with a real star?”

Mr. Namath will be 71 on Saturday.


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