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Jake Gyllenhaal on the heartbreaking moment at the center of Southpaw

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Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

In the upcoming boxing drama Southpaw, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Billy Hope battles some pretty fierce opponents in the ring. But it’s a slap from his 12-year-old costar, Oona Laurence, that had the actor talking when the cast stopped by to discuss the film with the Editorial Director of People and EW, Jess Cagle, during a recent Sirius XM Town Hall.

Billy – who lost custody of his daughter, Leila, following the death of his wife, Maureen (Rachel McAdams) – gets a slap in the face (literally) when Leila unleashes all of her pent-up rage toward him. According to Gyllenhaal, the moment was “moving” – and completely spontaneous.

“She’s going through so much and he’s going through so much,” Gyllenhaal says, “and her ability to be honest with her feelings is what you would want, ya know? So, even though it’s a sad scene and it’s heartbreaking in a lot of ways, it’s also sort of the first moment where they begin to heal. He’s able to take on her feelings and hold them for her and then not lash out.”

Listen to the actors discuss the scene below, along with a clip of Gyllenhaal revealing the movies he absolutely must watch if they’re on TV. The full interview will premiere this Friday at 1 p.m. ET on EW Radio Sirius XM 105, and can be heard on-demand anytime here

Southpaw hits theaters Friday. 

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