Jake Gyllenhaal

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Jake Gyllenhaal

Gyllenhaal attending a poetry reading at Martha's vineyard, 2006.
Birth name Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal
Born December 19, 1980 (age 26)
Los Angeles, California Flag of United States United States
Official site JakeGyllenhaal.com
Academy Awards
Nominated: Best Supporting Actor
2005 Brokeback Mountain
BAFTA Awards
Best Supporting Actor
2005 Brokeback Mountain

Jacob Benjamin "Jake" Gyllenhaal[2] (born December 19, 1980) is an Academy Award-nominated and BAFTA Award-winning American actor. The son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner, Gyllenhaal began acting at age eleven, and his short career has seen performances in diverse roles. He has received an Academy Award nomination and won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award.

Gyllenhaal's first major film appearance was in 2001's cult hit Donnie Darko, in which he played a teenager troubled by psychological problems. In the 2004 blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, he portrayed a student caught in a cataclysmic global cooling event alongside Dennis Quaid. He then played against type as a confused and frustrated Marine in Jarhead (2005) and, that same year, won critical acclaim as a "gay cowboy" in the controversial but highly lauded film, Brokeback Mountain.

Gyllenhaal has taken an activist role in supporting various political and social causes. He appeared in Rock the Vote advertising, campaigned for the Democratic party in the 2004 election, and has promoted environmental causes and the American Civil Liberties Union.


[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life and education

Gyllenhaal was born in Los Angeles, California, to film director Stephen Gyllenhaal and film producer and screenwriter Naomi Foner.[3] Gyllenhaal's father was raised in the Swedenborgian religion and is a descendant of the Swedish noble Gyllenhaal family; his last Swedish ancestor was his great-great-grandfather, Anders Leonard Gyllenhaal.[4] His mother is from a New York City Jewish-American family; she is the ex-wife of Eric Foner, a history professor at Columbia University. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jake's sister, is also an actress. Gyllenhaal was raised in the Jewish faith, and his Bar Mitzvah took place at a homeless shelter because his parents wanted to instill in him a sense of gratitude for his privileged lifestyle.[5][6] Gyllenhaal's parents insisted that he had summer jobs to support himself, and he worked as a lifeguard and busboy at a restaurant operated by a family friend.[7]

[edit] Early career

During childhood, Gyllenhaal had regular exposure to filmmaking due to his family's deep ties to the industry. As an eleven-year-old, he made his acting debut as Billy Crystal's son in the 1991 film City Slickers. His parents, however, did not subsequently allow him to appear in the 1992 film The Mighty Ducks, because it would have required him leaving home for two months.[3] In subsequent years, his parents would allow him to audition for parts, but regularly forbade him to take them if he were chosen.[7] But Gyllenhaal's parents did allow him to appear in his father's films several times. Gyllenhaal appeared in the 1993 film A Dangerous Woman (along with sister Maggie) in a 1994 episode of Homicide: Life on the Street, and in the 1998 comedy Homegrown. Along with their mother, Jake and Maggie appeared in two episodes of Molto Mario, an Italian cooking show on the Food Network. Prior to his senior year in high school, the only other film not directed by his father in which Gyllenhaal was allowed to perform was Josh and S.A.M., a little-known children's adventure.[8]

Gyllenhaal graduated from the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles in 1998, and then attended Columbia University (which his sister and mother also attended) to study Eastern religions and philosophy. Gyllenhaal dropped out after two years to concentrate on his acting career, but has expressed intentions to eventually finish his degree.[3] Gyllenhaal's first lead role was in October Sky, Joe Johnston's 1999 adaptation of the Homer Hickam autobiography Rocket Boys, in which he portrayed a young man struggling to win a science scholarship to avoid becoming a miner. The film earned $32 million and was described in the Sacramento News and Review as Gyllenhaal's "breakout performance".[9][10]

[edit] Critical success

Donnie Darko, Gyllenhaal's second major film, was not a box office success upon its initial 2001 release, but eventually became a cult favorite.[11] The film, directed by Richard Kelly, is set in 1988 and stars Gyllenhaal as a troubled teenager who, after narrowly escaping death, experiences visions of a 6-foot-tall rabbit named Frank who tells him that the world is coming to an end. Gyllenhaal's performance was well-received by critics; Dan Kois of Salon.com, who claimed that "Gyllenhaal manages the difficult trick of seeming both blandly normal and profoundly disturbed, often within the same scene".[12][13]

Gyllenhaal as Donnie Darko.
Gyllenhaal as Donnie Darko.

After the critical success of Donnie Darko, Gyllenhaal's next role was as the lead character in 2002's Highway, a film ignored by audiences and critics alike. Gyllenhaal's performance was described by one critic as "silly, cliched and straight to video."[14] Gyllenhaal had more success starring opposite Jennifer Aniston in The Good Girl, which premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival; he also starred in Lovely & Amazing with Catherine Keener.[15] In both films, he plays an unstable character who begins a reckless affair with an older woman. Gyllenhaal later described these as "teenager in transition" roles.[16] Gyllenhaal later starred in the Touchstone Pictures romantic comedy Bubble Boy, which was loosely based on the story of David Vetter. The film portrays the title character's adventures as he pursues the love of his life before she marries the wrong man.[17] The film was panned by critics, with one calling it an "empty-headed, chaotic, utterly tasteless atrocity".[18]

Following Bubble Boy, Gyllenhaal starred opposite Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon in Moonlight Mile, as a young man coping with the death of his fiancée and the grief of her parents. The story is loosely based on writer/director Brad Silberling's personal experiences.[19] It received mixed reviews from critics.[20]

Gyllenhaal was almost cast as Spider-Man for Spider-Man 2 due to director Sam Raimi's concerns that Tobey Maguire, who had a preexisting back injury,[21] risked paralysis from the stuntwork the movie required. Maguire recovered, however, and the sequel was shot without Gyllenhaal.[22] (The TV series Entourage satirized this incident by Warner Bros. signing Gyllenhaal to play Aquaman in a sequel after the actor who played him in the original film was fired.)

Instead, Gyllenhaal starred in the blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow in 2004, co-starring Dennis Quaid as his father.[23][24]

In his theatrical debut, Gyllenhaal starred on the London stage in Kenneth Lonergan's revival of This is Our Youth.[25] Gyllenhaal said, "every actor I look up to has done theatre work, so I knew I had to give it a try."[26] The play, which had been a critical sensation on Broadway, ran for eight weeks in London's West End. Gyllenhaal received favorable critical reviews and an Evening Standard Theatre Award in the category "Outstanding Newcomer".[27][28]

[edit] Brokeback Mountain and the future

2005 was a very prolific year for Gyllenhaal, who starred in the critically praised films Proof, Jarhead, and Brokeback Mountain. In Proof, featuring Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins, Gyllenhaal plays a maths grad who tries to convince Paltrow's character to publish a revolutionary proof to a problem puzzling the mathematical community. In Jarhead, Gyllenhaal played against his usual "sensitive yet disturbed" type by displaying an aggressive masculinity as a violent US Marine during the first Gulf War. The public reaction to this film was muted due to by Gyllenhaal's simultaneous appearance in Brokeback Mountain. Jarhead director Sam Mendes commented, "He entered at a young age, and he's a good-looking boy, and he's got showbiz family and all that kind of stuff, and he's come up sensing that that was always where he was going to go. But he felt, on some level, that he hadn't earned it. And he wanted to earn it. He wanted to work, and he wanted to explore himself. And I couldn't be more excited about the performance he gives".[3]

Gyllenhaal (rear) in the movie poster for Brokeback Mountain.
Gyllenhaal (rear) in the movie poster for Brokeback Mountain.

Brokeback Mountain, which starred Gyllenhaal, after overcoming initial reluctance,[29] and Heath Ledger as two sheep herders who secretly fall in love in the 1960s, won the Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival. The film went on to win four Golden Globe Awards, four BAFTA Awards, and three Academy Awards. Gyllenhaal was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actor for his performance, but lost to George Clooney. Gyllenhaal also won the Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for the same role and received a Best Supporting Actor nomination and Best Film Ensemble nomination from the Screen Actors Guild. Shortly after the 2006 Academy Awards, Gyllenhaal was invited to join the Academy in recognition of his acting career.[30] Most recently, Gyllenhaal was awarded the 2006 Young Artist Award for Artistic Excellence by The Americans for the Arts National Arts Awards for his role.[31]

Gyllenhaal expressed mixed feelings about the experience of being directed by Ang Lee in Brokeback Mountain, but generally had more praise than criticism for Lee's directing style. While complaining of the way Lee tended to disconnect with his actors once filming began, Gyllenhaal praised Lee's encouraging direction of the actors and sensitive approach to the material.[32][33] At the Directors Guild of America Awards on January 28, 2006, Gyllenhaal also praised Lee for "his humbleness and his respect for everyone around him."[34]

When asked about his kissing scenes with Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, Gyllenhaal stated, "As an actor, I think we need to embrace the times we feel most uncomfortable"[35] and when asked about the more intimate scenes with Ledger, Gyllenhaal likened them to "doing a love scene with a woman I'm not particularly attracted to".[29] Following the release of Brokeback Mountain, rumors circulated regarding the actor's sexual orientation. When asked about such gossip during an interview, Gyllenhaal said:

You know it's flattering when there's a rumor that says I'm bisexual. It means I can play more kinds of roles. I'm open to whatever people want to call me. I've never really been attracted to men sexually, but I don't think I would be afraid of it if it happened.[36]

Also in 2005, Gyllenhaal narrated the short animated film The Man Who Walked Between the Towers,[37] based on Mordicai Gerstein`s book of the same name about Philippe Petit's famous stunt.[38] Gyllenhaal's current project is the just-released movie Zodiac, directed by David Fincher and based on a true story.[39] He plays Robert Graysmith, a San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist and author of two books about the Zodiac serial killer.

Gyllenhaal is currently filming the movie Rendition, a thriller set in the Middle East, and directed by Gavin Hood. He will star alongside Reese Witherspoon.[40] Gyllenhaal hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time on Saturday, January 13, 2007, with musical guests The Shins. During part of his opening monologue he put on a sparkly evening dress and sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from the musical Dreamgirls with Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig as back-up singers.[41]

[edit] Personal life

[edit] Family

Members of the Gyllenhaal family have worked together on many Hollywood projects. His sister Maggie played his on-screen sister in Donnie Darko, and appeared with him in A Dangerous Woman, a film which their father, Stephen Gyllenhaal, directed. Maggie is engaged to actor Peter Sarsgaard, Gyllenhaal's co-star in Jarhead. Gyllenhaal's niece, Ramona Sarsgaard, was born on October 3, 2006. Both Gyllenhaal and his sister admit to sibling rivalry in their younger years, but often share problems and advice nowadays.[42][43][44] In December, 2006, they escaped a fire that destroyed Manka's, a famed lodge and restaurant in Inverness, California, at which they were vacationing.[45] Jamie Lee Curtis is Gyllenhaal's godmother,[3] and he has repeatedly referred to his godfathers being a gay couple.[46][47] Gyllenhaal himself is the godfather of Matilda Rose Ledger (born October 28, 2005), the daughter of Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams, both of whom co-starred with him in Brokeback Mountain. Additionally, Gyllenhaal's uncle, Anders, is the executive editor of The Miami Herald.

[edit] Relationships

Gyllenhaal dated Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis in 2001,[48] but his most notable relationship has been with actress Kirsten Dunst. The couple met through Gyllenhaal's sister, began dating in September 2002, and were reported to have officially broken up in July 2004; however, the relationship remained off and on until December 2005.[49]

Internationally viewed as a sex symbol, Gyllenhaal was named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" in 2006.[50] He was also listed in People's "Hottest Bachelors of 2006".[51]

With Dunst, Gyllenhaal shares a German Shepherd named Atticus, whom they rescued from a Los Angeles dog shelter. Gyllenhaal also owns a Puggle named Boo Radley. The dogs are named after characters from the Harper Lee novel To Kill a Mockingbird, one of Gyllenhaal's favorite novels.[52]

[edit] Politics and other interests

Gyllenhaal is politically active; he shot a commercial for Rock the Vote, and during the 2004 U.S. Election, he visited the University of Southern California with his sister to encourage students to vote.[53] He also campaigned for Democratic candidate John Kerry.[54] He has stated, however, that "it frustrates me when actors talk politics; I’m political and I make choices in my movies that I think are political. I try and say things with what I do. Rightly or wrongly, young actors have all the power."[55]

Raised in a family concerned with social issues, Gyllenhaal has campaigned on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an organization which his entire family strongly supports.[56][57] Environmentally conscious, he recycles regularly, and said in an interview that he spends $400 a year on having trees planted in a Mozambique forest, partly to promote the Future Forests program.[58][59] After filming The Day After Tomorrow, he flew to the Arctic to promote awareness of climate change.[60][61]

In his spare time, Gyllenhaal enjoys woodworking and cooking.[62] He has stated "[I am] not a card-carrying Buddhist, but I do try to practice mindfulness" and he makes it his goal to meditate every day.[63][64]

[edit] Filmography

Year Title Role
1991 City Slickers Danny Robbins
1999 October Sky Homer Hickam Jr.
2001 Donnie Darko Donnie Darko
Bubble Boy Jimmy Livingston
2002 Highway Pilot Kelson
Moonlight Mile Joe Nast
The Good Girl Thomas 'Holden' Worther
2004 The Day After Tomorrow Sam Hall
2005 Brokeback Mountain Jack Twist
Jarhead Anthony Swofford ("Swoff")
Proof Harold 'Hal' Dobbs
2007 Zodiac Robert Graysmith
Rendition Douglas Freeman

[edit] Awards

Year Group Award Result Film
2001 Independent Spirit Awards Best Male Lead Nominated Donnie Darko
Chlotrudis Awards Best Actor Won
2002 DVD Exclusive Awards DVD Premiere Award, Best Actor Nominated Highway
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Breakout Star - Male Nominated The Good Girl
Young Hollywood Awards Breakthrough Performance - Male Won
2006 MTV Movie Awards Best Performance Won Brokeback Mountain
Best Kiss Won
Screen Actors Guild Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Best Ensemble Nominated
National Board of Review Best Supporting Actor Won
Critics' Choice Award Best Supporting Actor Nominated
BAFTA Best Supporting Actor Won
Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Satellite Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor Nominated
Americans for the Arts' National Arts Awards 2006 Young Artist Award for Artistic Excellence Won
Satellite Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor Nominated Jarhead

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ Official site, (FAQ). Retrieved November 28, 2006.
  2. ^ Pronounced Jill-en-hall ['dʒɪlənhɑl].
  3. ^ a b c d e Schruers, Fred (October 30, 2005), "Jake's progress",The Guardian. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  4. ^ Bloom, Nate (June 11, 2004)Rootsweb.com. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  5. ^ Contact Music (November 6, 2005), "Gyllenhaal's Homeless Shelter Bar-Mitzvah". Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  6. ^ Bloom, Nate (June 11, 2004), "Celebrity Jews", Jewish News Weekly. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  7. ^ a b Horn, Steven (2004), "Interview with Jake Gyllenhaal", Ign.com. Retrieved September 16, 2006.
  8. ^ Wills, Dominic (2006), "Jake Gyllenhaal biography", Tiscali.com. Retrieved September 16, 2006.
  9. ^ Wills, Dominic (2006), "Jake Gyllenhaal biography", Tiscali.com. Retrieved September 16, 2006.
  10. ^ Halverson, Mark (1998), October Sky review, News & Review. Retrieved September 21, 2006.
  11. ^ Snider, Mike (February 2, 2005), "'Darko' takes a long, strange trip",USA Today. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  12. ^ Kois, Dan (July 23, 2004), "Everything you were afraid to ask about "Donnie Darko"",Salon.com. Retrieved September 19, 2006
  13. ^ Mairs, Gary, Donnie Darko review,CultureVulture.net. Retrieved September 21, 2006.
  14. ^ Wills, Dominic (2006), "Jake Gyllenhaal biography", Tiscali.com. Retrieved September 16, 2006.
  15. ^ Hubbell, Anne (January 16, 2002), "Director, writer talk about 'The Good Girl'", CNN Entertainment. Retrieved September 16, 2006.
  16. ^ Michael, David (October 21, 2002), BBC Films. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  17. ^ Gonzalez, Ed (2001),Slant Magazine review. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  18. ^ Swietek, Frank, Bubble Boy Review, oneguysopinion.com. Retrieved September 21, 2006.
  19. ^ Murray, Rebecca (2006), "Jake Gyllenhaal and Brad Silberling Talk About "Moonlight Mile"", About.com. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  20. ^ RottenTomatoes.com compilation of critical reviews. Retrieved September 21, 2006.
  21. ^ Otto, Jeff. "An Interview with Tobey Maguire." IGN, 23 July 2003.
  22. ^ Morales, Wilson (June 2004), "Spiderman 2 : An Interview with Sam Raimi", Blackfilm.com. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  23. ^ Mottram, James (May 12, 2004), BBC Film. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  24. ^ Schruers, Fred (October 30, 2005), "rake's progress",The Guardian. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  25. ^ Billington, Michael (March 18, 2002), This Is Our Youth review, The Guardian. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  26. ^ Gritten, David (April 13, 2002), "Fast growing up to be famous", The Telegraph. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  27. ^ Loveridge, Lizzie (March 2002), "A CurtainUp London Review: This is Our Youth", CurtainUp.com. Retrieved September 21, 2006.
  28. ^ Albemarle-London, Albemarle. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  29. ^ a b Hiscock, John (December 12, 2005), " The one Jake: why Gyllenhaal spells success",The Telegraph. Retrieved November 06, 2006.
  30. ^ AMPAS Official statement (July 6, 2006), Oscars.org. Retrieved September 29, 2006.
  31. ^ Flowers, Michelle (October 18, 2006), Gyllenhaal Gets Nod from Americans for the Arts, backstage.com. Retrieved November 4, 2006.
  32. ^ Wenn (December 20, 2005), Hollywood.com. Retrieved September 29, 2006.
  33. ^ Cavagna, Carla (December 2005), "Interview: Jake Gyllenhaal", aboutfilm.com. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  34. ^ CBS news, AP, (January 26, 2005), "'Brokeback' Director Grabs Top Award". Retrieved September 29, 2006.
  35. ^ Denizet-Lewis,Benoit "Jake", Details. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  36. ^ "All the latest interviews, reviews and awards for Brokeback Mountain.", GLAAD. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  37. ^ . Retrieved September 29, 2006.
  38. ^ Association for Library Service to Children website. Retrieved September 19, 2006
  39. ^ Mottram, James (December 11, 2005), "Jake’s Progress", Sunday Herald. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  40. ^ Mcnary, Dave, Fleming, Michael (September 26, 2006), "New Line renders cast", Variety.com. Retrieved November 16, 2006.
  41. ^ Edgeboston.com (January 17, 2007), YouTube Extras: Jake as Effie, and a Musical ’Scrubs’. Retrieved January 27, 2007.
  42. ^ Khakpour, Porochista (September 2002), "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown", Paper magazine. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  43. ^ WENN (February 2003), "Julia's Baby Health Kick", Imdb.com. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  44. ^ Yahoo India News, (August 15, 2006), "Maggie Gyllenhaal banks on brother's advice". Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  45. ^ Whitaker, Tad (December 27, 2006), Inverness fire engulfs lodge, Manka's eatery, Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved January 6, 2006.
  46. ^ Sumi, Glen (December 12, 2005), Jake Gyllenhaal, Now Magazine. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  47. ^ Applebaum, Stephen (27 January 2006), "Love and War", Netribution. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  48. ^ Lindall, Anders Smith, (May, 2005), "Rilo Kiley:Prime Time", Harp Magazine. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  49. ^ Sydney Morning Herald (July 21, 2004), "Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhaal split". Retrieved on September 19, 2006.
  50. ^ People Magazine, April 28, 2006.
  51. ^ People magazine,(November 10, 2005), "Ten Things to Love about Jake". Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  52. ^ Glamour Magazine (2001), "G-Guys" Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  53. ^ Nichols, Kara (September 21, 2004), "Celebrities rally voters", The Daily Trojan. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  54. ^ Pelleymounter, Alison (October 28, 2004), "Star of Donnie Darko visits EC", The Spectator. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  55. ^ Mottram, James (December 11, 2005), "Jake’s Progress", Sunday Herald. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  56. ^ ACLU Official Statement (May 15, 2003),"Celebrities Speak out for Civil Rights". Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  57. ^ Dennis Van Tine, Jen Lowery, Bennett Marcus (October 4, 2005), "ACLU Freedom Concert", Open all night. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  58. ^ Foley, Jack (2003), "The Day After Tomorrow - Jake Gyllenhaal Q&A", Indie London. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  59. ^ Curry, Carolann (May 27, 2004), "2004: The year of Jake Gyllenhaal", Youth Quake magazine. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  60. ^ Eilperin, Juliet (April 26, 2005), "Ice Crusade", Washington Post. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  61. ^ Spectral Productions Inc. (April 21 & 22,2005), Arctic Wisdom. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  62. ^ Femalefirst (2006), "Carpenter Jake Gyllenhaal". Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  63. ^ Eimer, David (May 23, 2004), "Jake's Progress", The Times. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
  64. ^ Denizet-Lewis, Benoit, "Jake", Details. Retrieved September 19, 2006.

[edit] External links

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