Jake Gyllenhaal

Monday, Aug 16, 2021

Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal was born on December 19, 1980 in Los Angeles, California to his parents Naomi Foner and Stephen Gyllenhaal. His mother is a film producer and screenwriter, and his father is a film director. Jake’s mother is Jewish, with family coming from Russia and Poland, while his father is Swedish and English and is a descendant of the Swedish noble Gyllenhaal family. Because his parents are in the film industry, Jake, along with his older sister Maggie, were exposed to filmmaking at an early age. For his Bar Mitzvah, he volunteered at a homeless shelter, encouraged by his parents, so he could be gracious for the lifestyle he got to live. Along with their mother, Jake and Maggie appeared in two episodes of “Molto Mario”, an Italian cooking show on the Food Network. In high school, Jake had summer jobs to support himself, so he worked as a lifeguard and a restaurant busboy. In 1998, he graduated from Harvard-Westlake School, then went on to attend Columbia University to study Eastern religions and philosophy. After two years at Columbia, Jake dropped out to further pursue his acting career.

His acting debut came in the 1991 comedy City Slickers, playing the role of Danny Robbins alongside Billy Crystal and Daniel Stern. The film follows a Manhattan yuppie joined his two friends on a cattle drive in the southwest. In 1993, Jake portrayed Edward in A Dangerous Woman, a film directed by his father, and Leon Coleman in Josh and S.A.M.. 1994 brought his television debut as Matt Ellison in an episode of “Homicide: Life on the Street”. Jake appeared in his father’s film Homegrown in 1998 as Jake/Blue Kahan. The film starred Billy Bob Thornton and Ryan Phillippe, and also featured Maggie as well. The next year came Jake’s first starring role as Homer Hickam in the biographical drama October Sky. The film follows the story of Homer, a coal miner’s son, who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father’s wishes. The film earned Jake a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor, a YoungStar Award nomination for Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama Film, and a Teen Choice Award nomination for Breakout Performance – Film. 2001 brought him the title role in Donnie Darko, a sci-fi drama following a troubled teenager being plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes. Jake’s performance was well-received by critics, stating he “manages the difficult trick of seeming both blandly normal and profoundly disturbed, often within the same scene.” His performance earned him the Best Actor award at the 2003 Chlotrudis Awards along with a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Male Lead. Later that year, Jake starred as Jimmy Livingston in Bubble Boy and appearing in Lovely & Amazing as Jordan.

In 2002, Jake joined Jennifer Aniston for the romantic drama The Good Girl as Holden Worther, followed by Highway as Pilot with Jared Leto and Selma Blair. His performance in The Good Girl earned Jake a Satellite Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical and Teen Choice Award nominations for Choice Movie Breakout Star – Male and Choice Movie Liplock with Jennifer Aniston. Also in 2002 came the romantic drama Moonlight Mile, starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon. Jake played the role of Joe Nast in the film that follows his character befriending his fiancé’s parents after her death to figure out what he wants in life. He would make his theatrical stage debut in London’s West End in Kenneth Lonergan’s revival of This Is Our Youth. Jake expressed “every actor I look up to has done theatre work, so I knew I had to give it a try.” He ended up receiving good reviews, along with an Evening Standard Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer. After his eight-week stint on stage, Jake returned to the screen for his next film The Day After Tomorrow, playing Sam Hall alongside Emmy Possum and Dennis Quaid. The sci-fi adventure film follows Jack Hall on his trek from Washington D.C. to New York City, where his son is trapped in the cross-hairs of an international storm that suddenly plunges the planet into a new Ice Age. Jake next appeared as himself in the the comedy Jiminy Glick in Lalawood the same year. Jake narrated the short film Between the Towers in 2005 before the release of one of the biggest films of his career. Jake starred opposite Heath Ledger in the romantic drama Brokeback Mountain as Jack Twist, one of the two shepherds who develop both an emotional and sexual relationship, which becomes complicated over the years when they get married to their girlfriends. The performance most notably earned Jake the BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, as well as an Academy Award nomination for his supporting role as well. The same year, he stepped into the role of Harold Dobbs in Proof, a mystery drama also starring Anthony Hopkins and Gwyneth Paltrow; and portraying Anthony Swofford in the biographical drama Jarhead, a film about a psychological study of a soldier’s state of mind during the Gulf War.

2007 brought Jake’s next film Zodiac, also starring Robert Downey Jr. He portrays Robert Graysmith, a San Francisco cartoonist who becomes an amateur detective to track down the Zodiac Killer, who terrorized Northern California through the 1960s/70s. Next came the dramatic thriller Rendition, where Jake played Douglas Freeman alongside Reese Witherspoon and Alan Arkin before appearing in The Lonely Island’s music video for “Iran So Far”. The next year, Jake appeared in Jamie Foxx’s music video for “Blame It”, featuring T-Pain before the release of his next film Brothers. He plays the role of Tommy Cahill and follows Sam Cahill as he returns home from Afghanistan to his loved ones, carrying some excess baggage. The film also starred Tobey Maguire and. Natalie Portman. A review from The Independent expressed Jake and Tobey gave “honest performances.” In 2010, his next role came by starring as Dastan in Price of Persia: The Sands of Time, based on the video game by the same name. He would reunite with Anne Hathaway in the romantic comedy Love & Other Drugs playing the role of f Jamie Randall. The film follows a medicine peddler in the 90s who starts a relationship with a young woman suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Jake’s performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. Following is the 2011 mystery drama Source Code in which Jake played the role of Colter Stevens, a soldier who takes up in someone else’s body and discovers he’s part of an experimental government program to find the bomber of a commuter train within eight minutes. He served as a jury member at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in February 2012. He appeared in The Shoes’s music video for their song “Time to Dance” as The Killer, along with the crime drama End of Watch. Jake starred as Brian Taylor alongside Michael Peña, and executive produced the film as well. Roger Ebert deemed the film as “one of the best police movies in recent years, a virtuoso fusion of performances and often startling action”. He would return to the stage for his Off-Broadway debut in Nick Payne’s play If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet.

2013 brought Prisoners where Jake portrayed Detective Loki opposite Hugh Jackman. The crime drama earned him the award for Supporting Actor of the Year at the Hollywood Film Awards. He would also star as Adam and Anthony opposite Mélanie Laurent in Enemy, a thriller following a man seeking out his lookalike after spotting him in a movie. The next year, Jake was part of the music video for “On The Run” by Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé. His next film came in the crime drama Nightcrawler, in which he produced and starred as Louis Bloom, a con man desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A. crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story. Jake earned a BAFTA award nomination for Best Leading Actor, as well as a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. In January 2015, Jake made his Broadway debut alongside Ruth Wilson in Payne’s Constellations, which ran through March. He was busy in film, beginning with the release of the romantic comedy Accidental Love, playing Howard Birdwell opposite Jessica Biel; followed by the sports drama Southpaw, where he portrayed Billy Hope, a champion boxer fighting to get custody of his daughter while trying too revive his professional career. Next, he played Scott Fischer in Everest, the story of Robert Edwin Hall and Scott Fischer teaming up on a joint expedition to ascend Mount Everest in 1996. Lastly, Jake starred as Davis in the comedic drama Demolition, which also starred Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper. Bilge Ebiri from the Village Voice praised his performance, writing, “He nails Davis’s boyish curiosity, the quiet, wide-eyed uncertainty of someone discovering the world for the first time.” In 2016, he appeared in an episode “Inside Amy Schumer” as himself before taking on a double role as Tony Hastings and Edward Scheffield in Nocturnal Animals with Amy Adams and Michael Shannon. Jake performed in four benefit concerts at the New York City Center.

At the beginning of 2017, he returned to Broadway for a run of . Ben Brantley of The New York Times praised his “searing theatrical presence, in which his eyes are his center of gravity. Jake would next portray David Jordan in the sci-fi thriller Life, a film about a team of scientists aboard the International Space Station discover a rapidly evolving life form that caused extinction on Mars and now threatens all life on Earth. Next came the Netflix action adventure film Okja, where he played Johnny Wilcox, followed by Jeff Bauman in Stronger. Jake’s performance in Stronger earned him the Actor of the Year award at the Hollywood Film Awards, as well as a Best Actor nomination at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards. He would also appear in Great Perfomers’s music video for “Horror Show” that year. 2019 began with the release of the drama Wildlife in which Jake starred as Jake Brinson opposite Carey Mulligan. The film follows a teenage boy having to deal with his mother’s complicated response after his father temporarily abandons them to take menial and dangerous job. He also starred opposite John C. Reilly as John Morris in The Sisters Brothers. In 2019, Jake starred as More Vanderwait in Dan Gilroy’s thriller Velvet Buzzsaw, about a satire set in the contemporary art world scene of Los Angeles, where big money artists and mega-collectors pay a high price when art collides with commerce. Over the summer, he would join the Marvel Cinematic Universe by portraying the scintillating villain Quentin Beck in Spider-Man: Far From Home opposite Tom Holland. Jake returned to Broadway alongside Tom Sturridge in Sea Wall/A Life, a double bill of monologues by Nick Payne and Simon Stephens, which opened on August 8, 2019. He earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Play for his performance. In 2020, Jake played an uncredited part as the Guy Who Travels in Pyjamas in John Mulaney-hosted episode of “Saturday Night Live”. Jake lent his voice for the role of Jim Prescott for the animated family film Spirit Untamed in 2021, which also starred Mckenna Grace and Walton Goggins.

Jake’s upcoming projects include portraying the role of Joe Bayler in The Guilty, a crime drama expected to be released later in 2021. The film Ambulance, an action drama also starring Elza González and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is in the post-production process and is expected to be released on February 18, 2022. Jake will also star in the television mini-series “The Son” as Sonny Lofthus, who question’s his father’s suicide and seeks out those who killed him. The series is currently in the pre-production process. Also in pre-production are The Division, Suddenly, Francis and The Godfather, and Combat Control. Projects that Jake has signed on to include The Anarchists vs ISIS, Snow Blind, television mini-series “Lake Success”, Rio, and Finest Kind.