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Jake Gyllenhaal
Also known as: Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal
Actor • Executive Producer • Producer
Born: December 19, 1980 in California, U.S.A.
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About
Jake Benjamin Gyllenhaal is an Academy Award-nominated actor who is best remembered for his performance in the 2014 thriller Nightcrawler, where he plays the role of a thief who starts filming live footage of crime and accidents in LA. His performance won him several nominations, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama, and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He started his career as a child actor in 1991 with the comedy movie City Slickers, which was successful, both, commercially and critically. Some of his other notable works include Donnie Darko, Jarhead, Broken Mountainback, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, End of Watch, and Southpaw.

The actor has been associated with philanthropy since his childhood after his grandfather inspired him to be charitable. He is an active supporter of New Eyes for the Needy, which aims at providing better vision to the poor and donate glasses to the ones in need. Among the many other causes supported by Gyllenhaal are Mississippi Animal Rescue League, Variety - The Children's Charity, and BID 2 BEAT AIDS to name a few.

Early Life
Jake Gyllenhaal is a descendant of the Swedish noble family Gyllenhaal, however, he is American. He was born to film producer and screenwriter Naomi Foner and her director Stephen Gyllenhaal on the 19th of December, 1980 in Los Angeles. He has an elder sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal, who, like him, in an Academy Award-nominated actor. Gyllenhaal studied at the Harvard-Westlake School after which he studied Eastern Religion at the Columbia University. However, he quit university after two years in order to pursue his acting career.

Personal Life
Gyllenhaal was introduced to the Spider-Man actress Kirsten Dunst in 2002 by his sister, following which the two started dating in the September of the same year. The couple was together for two years before they called it quits in 2004. Despite their split, the two were seeing each other on-and-off for the next two years. He then started dating Reese Witherspoon in 2007, who had just come out of a marriage and was divorced. The two were together for over two years and broke up in 2009. Following his split with Witherspoon, Gyllenhaal dated country singer Taylor Swift, who was then 21 years old and was nine years Gyllenhaal’s junior. The two dated for a couple months between October 2010 and January 2011. Gyllenhaal then dated model Alyssa Miller for a brief period from June to December 2013.

Movie Career
Born to parents who were already a part of the entertainment industry, Gyllenhaal was exposed to filmmaking when he was a child. He was first seen in the 1991 comedy City Slickers, which went on to become a commercially successful movie with the movie and the actors receiving various award nominations. He was offered the 1992 sports comedy-drama The Mighty Ducks, which his father turned down since the young actor would have to stay away from for two months. Although his father allowed him to audition for various roles, he was not allowed to take up any of the roles even if he was chosen since his parents did not want him to lose any touch with his studies. However, the only movies that he could be a part of were the ones directed by his father. In 1993, he was cast alongside his sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal, in A Dangerous Woman directed by his father, Stephen Gyllenhaal, and written by his mother, Naomi Foner.

Having made his acting debut as a child, Gyllenhaal’s debut as a lead actor was the 1999 biographical movie October Sky, co-starring Chris Cooper, Chris Owen, and Laura Dern. Based on the novel of the same name, the movie went on to garner acclaim from critics with many stating Gyllenhaal’s performance to be the highlight of the movie. Next, he was seen in the 2001 psychological horror-science fiction drama Donnie Darko where he played the titular role of a troubled teenager. The actor’s performance won him critical praise despite the movie not being a commercial success at the time of its release. In the years to come, the movie attained the cult status. Gyllenhaal went on to win the Teen Choice Awards for Choice Movie Breakout Star – Male for his performance in the 2002 black comedy drama The Good Girl starring Jennifer Aniston and John C. Reilly.

The Donnie Darko actor went on to appear in movies like Bubble Boy, Lovely and Amazing, and The Day After Tomorrow, which went on to become a blockbuster hit. In 2005, he was seen in the biographical war film Jarhead where Gyllenhaal played the role of a violent and aggressive U. S. Marine during the first Gulf War. The movie opened to mainly positive reviews with Gyllenhaal’s performance receiving immense praise from the critics. Next, he was seen in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain alongside Heath Ledger. The movie based on a novel of the same name is about the lives of two sheepherders who get involved sexually. Both the men, thinking it would be a one-time incident, start having a passionate sexual and emotional relationship. However, fate has different plans for both of them. Gyllenhaal’s performance won him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor among many other nominations, however, he went on to win the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in Supporting Role.

Based on a true story, Gyllenhaal was seen in the 2007 mystery-thriller Zodiac cast alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo. Gyllenhaal plays the role of Robert Graysmith, a San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist, in the movie, which is about a series of murders committed by a mysterious serial killer in and around San Francisco and goes by the name Zodiac. In order to prepare for the role, Gyllenhaal personally met with Robert Graysmith to understand his mannerisms. The movie opened to positive reviews and was a commercial success. His 2010 release, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, based on the video game of the same name, saw him play the role of Prince Dastan. The movie, also starring Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, and Alfred Molina, opened to mixed reviews but went on to become a commercially successful movie.

Cast alongside Anne Hathaway in the 2010 erotic romantic-comedy drama Love & Other Drugs, Gyllenhaal played the role of Jamie Randall, a pharmaceutical sales representative, in the movie based on the non-fiction book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman. Although the movie opened to mixed reviews, it went on to become a box-office success. Playing the role of a Los Angeles Police Department officer, Gyllenhaal was seen alongside Michael Peña in the 2012 crime drama End of Watch. In order to train for his role, the actor took tactical training and participated in actual police drives with co-star Michael Peña. The movie was made on a budget of $7 million and went on to rake in over $48 million at the box-office with most critics stating that the movie is easily one of the best police movies that was made in a long, long time.

He was next seen in Denis Villeneuve’s psychological thriller Enemy in 2013, where he plays the role of Adam Bell and his doppelganger Anthony Claire. The movie and Gyllenhaal’s performance both won critical acclaim with the movie becoming a commercial success. The following year, he was seen in the thriller Nightcrawler, where he plays the role of a thief who starts filming live footage of crime and accidents in LA. His performance won him innumerable nominations, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama, and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Starring alongside Forest Whitaker and Rachel McAdams, Gyllenhaal was seen in the sports drama Southpaw. Although the movie was mainly battered by critics, calling it a boring cliché, Gyllenhaal’s performance was extremely well-received.

The same year, he was seen cast in an ensemble cast comprising Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, and Emily Watson in the mountain adventure Everest. The movie mainly opened to positive reviews and raked in over $203.4 million against a budget of $55 million. The following year, the actor was seen in the neo-noir psychological thriller Nocturnal Animals along with Amy Adams and Isla Fisher. His 2017 releases include Stronger, Okja, and Life.

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Did You Know? (8)

  • At one time, Phoenix was considered to play a leading role in Brokeback Mountain but things didn`t work out and the role went to Jake Gyllenhaal.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal is a descendant of the Swedish noble Gyllenhaal family.
  • For years, Jake's surname has been mispronounced. Given his Swedish descent, his surname, Gyllenhaal, is actually pronounced Yil-en-hoo-luh-hay.
  • In 2004, Gyllenhaal was on the list of People Magazine's 50 Hottest Bachelors.
  • Before Jake Gyllenhaal could take up acting, he worked as a lifeguard. Although he did not have a major life-saving experience, one such experience was when a stung by a jellyfish and in order to relieve the swimmer's pain, Gyllenhaal urinated on the swimmer's leg.
  • Since Tobey Maguire suffered an injury, Gyllenhaal was almost cast to play Spider-Man in the 2004 movie Spider-Man 2. However, Maguire recovered in time and returned to reprise his role.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal's favorite novel is Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird and hence he has named both of dogs Atticus and Boo after the characters in the novel.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal is the godfather of late actor Heath Ledger and his wife Michelle Williams's daughter, Matilda Ledger.
  • Personal Quotes (26)

  • "Every journey starts with fear."
  • "Don't listen to what anybody says except the people who encourage you. If it's what you want to do and it's within yourself, then keep going and try to do it for the rest of your life."
  • "I've learned over the years that freedom is just the other side of discipline."
  • "I think family is the most important thing in the world. I think your own family is the most complicated thing in the world, and I think it's the most beautiful thing in the world."
  • "Crazy people don't sit around wondering if they're nuts."
  • "I hope that when the world comes to an end, I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to."
  • "Every man goes through a period of thinking they're attracted to another guy."
  • "It bothers me when people say, 'Oh, you're so down to earth - for an actor.' Even when they don't say 'for an actor,' I feel like that's the implication. Why are the standards so low for performers?"
  • "I think, when someone say, "When did you feel like an actor?" it's those moments when I feel like, "I'm an actor, wow." That's an extraordinary moment for me. So it's not like I walk around going, "I'm an actor.""
  • "When you have a lot of opportunities, which I am blessed to have had in terms of my work, you get into the habit of not paying attention to certain specifics. And as we get busy, anything we do is the same thing."
  • "I am inherently a little brother - that's just my nature. It has to do with my sister being very strong and wanting to protect me. It's the natural order of things."
  • "Ask yourself why a red carpet is red. It could be any colour."
  • "I think that we all have within us the potential for almost anything. If we play close attention to our lives, then we can get at it somehow."
  • "I've learned over the years that freedom is just the other side of discipline."
  • "In work, never have any regrets and always leave everything on the field."
  • "I'm going to continue doing what I want to do. And if it means I want to go and make a big movie, if it has something to say, I will want to make it. I don't want to spend my life wasting my time. If it's a big movie, I want to do it. If it's a small movie, I want to do it."
  • "I'm like, 'What world am I living in?' Aren't movies made to have something to say? Why make a movie if you don't have something to say? What are you doing it for? Are you doing it because you want to make a lot of money?"
  • "It's funny to me that people find other people getting coffee really interesting, or walking their dog in the dog park."
  • "The best thing that I got was rehearsing with my father. It was always about the process of figuring things out, and trying something new, and having another take on something and keeping it alive."
  • "Chris Cooper once told me to never have any regrets. After Chris said that to me, I walk into every scene thinking, 'exhaust every possibility.' Once you get to a certain place, it's like you just deliver everything you've got. Don't have any regrets. It pops up in my mind over and over and over again."
  • "Really, contrary to popular belief, I like to have a good time and not take myself too seriously."
  • "I liken movies to playing a piano: Sometimes you're playing the chords and different notes with unresolved cadences and playing all major chords that are all over the place, and you're enjoying yourself with a great, simple melody."
  • "I would really love to direct one day. I think there are certain actors who love the character and the performance and that's all they want to be a part of."
  • "I can't make a movie unless I believe in the themes behind it. I mean, that's the first question I ask myself, always, is, 'What is this movie about?'"
  • "I think as an actor you have to be open to your emotions - that's how you tap into other characters. Besides, by being so open I've come to terms with how screwed I am!"
  • "I heard about the movie business before I even knew what it was. So I surround myself now with people who are like, 'Can we not talk about movies for an hour?'"
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