Jake Gyllenhaal profile
Jake Gyllenhaal in "Source Code"
Jake Gyllenhaal

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“I thought I was a long shot, but this was a role I was going to fight for.”  Perhaps Jake Gyllenhaal’s quote can refer to all of the roles he has undertaken, and in doing so he has steadily mounted an impressive body of work for an early career.  Raised in the entertainment world in Los Angeles, Jake’s father is a director and his mother a producer/screenwriter.  His godparents are Paul Newman and Jamie Lee Curtis, and with his sister Maggie a respected actress in her own right, it is no surprise Jake took to the same path.

What is surprising is how Jake has chosen his movie projects.  His screen debut was as Billy Crystal’s son in “City Slickers” in 1991.  At decade’s end, an older, more mature Gyllenhaal appeared in “October Sky” which led to the title role of the cult favorite “Donnie Darko.”  The film became Jake’s calling card – and gave him access to both indie and mainstream pictures.  His understated stock boy, Holden Caufield-ish character in “The Good Girl” opposite Jennifer Aniston was another breakout performance.  It seemed that Jake was doing nothing but giving breakout performances – with “Brokeback Mountain” topping off the climb to the top. As the most talked about film of 2005, it also brought Jake his first Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actor.  “Jarhead,” also released in 2005, capped a pivotal year for Jake. He had finally arrived.  By the time “Zodiac” came out, Jake had already established himself, and was using his celebrity status to help the environment, support the American Civil Liberties Union, and encourage young people to vote.  His growing range is making him one of the more interesting actors today, and he has the chance to continue satisfying both commercial and art house fans alike.

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Jake on the Web

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Jake on the Screen

With “October Sky,” about a young man who dreams of rocketry, Jake launched a list of commercially and critically praised movies.  “Donnie Darko” put Jake on the cult map, followed closely by “Bubble Boy,” “The Good Girl,” and “Moonlight Mile,” marking four movies with alliterative titles.  “The Day After Tomorrow” introduced Jake to the blockbuster, and “Brokeback Mountain” and “Jarhead” brought him much attention, huge critical acclaim, and an Oscar nomination.  He teamed alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins in “Proof," before returning in 2007 with “Zodiac,” part of an impressive ensemble cast.  He’s also on the stage, extending his acting skills over to Broadway on the side.

Jake Says

On current affairs:
“We live in a sad time where actors are politicians and politicians are actors.”

On sexuality:
“I grew up in L.A., so the idea of same-sex relationships is hardly foreign to me.  I think there comes a time when everyone asks himself about his sexuality.  That doesn’t mean you experiment, but you definitely think about your preferences.”

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