Jake Gyllenhaal: “If I Hadn’t Changed My Priorities, I’d Have A Serious Problem Today”

Jake Gyllenhaal (Los Angeles, age 40) is learning to embrace the moment. “Nature has always been a place of rest for me and it is becoming more so” he says. “In the years before the pandemic I was very busy and the truth is that I did not have time to connect with it. One of the most incredible things about the last year and a half is that there are so many more birds. Or maybe it is that I now pay more attention to listening to them. What I love about the campaign and Luna Rossa Ocean is that they evoke the power of nature and respect for nature ”. Talk about the new perfume of Prada, Luna Rossa Ocean, Jake Gyllenhaal (Los Angeles, 40 years old), in whose campaign he grabs the helm of a ship to face a storm. The actor has set out to do the same in his personal life. Now he is, as at the end of the ad, heading towards the unknown: for the last year and a half he has taken the opportunity to reconnect with nature and with himself.

Jake Gyllenhaal was caught by the pandemic at a key moment in his life: he had decided to start having fun with his work. Following his disappointing come-out as an action star in Prince of Persia (Mike Newell, 2010), allowed himself to be seduced by the method and chained roles for which he submitted to physical, mental and emotional suffering. In a matter of months, he lost 15 kilos to play the sociopathic reporter of Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014), won them and added another 15 of pure muscle to make a boxer of Southpaw (Antoine Fuqua, 2015). In three years he made eight films.

But after producing and starring Stronger (David Gordon Green, 2017), inspired by the true story of a man who lost a leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombingsGyllenhaal was so determined to experience the reality of his character that he realized he was taking himself too seriously. “I think I took it too far to the extreme” I reflected in February 2020. “I wanted the film to be excellent and I did everything I could to do the story justice. I fought a lot for people to see it, but it didn’t have the answer that I would have liked and at one point I asked myself: ‘But what am I doing? Why am I trying so hard? ‘ I can’t fake those things. I will never be able to represent the real experience. Someone told me that I had lost my ability to imagine, and what the hell is acting without imagination? So I decided to start having a little fun. ” His first initiative was to organize a meal with friends and family at his home every Sunday: something so ordinary for anyone was extraordinary for Jake Gyllenhaal.

Jake Gyllenhaal has recognized that for many years his life was guided by his professional ambition, an attitude that has changed after the pandemic.Andrew Whelan

The script of Spider-man far from home (Jon Watts, 2019) it came to him that neither painted for this new state of mind. His friendship with the interpreter of Peter Parker, Tom Holland, and the fraternal displays of affection that were professed during the promotion of the blockbuster Marvel caused a sensation on the internet. Gyllenhaal even dared to open up an Instagram account. “Now actors are required to start their careers on social media. I didn’t grow up with it. But it seemed incredible to me to see Tom interacting with his audience, I would learn from him and ask him for advice. What I love about him is that he is determined to understand the craft of acting. I find that every time the trade is more lost in the search for fame and celebrity. I know part of the insecurity of being an actor involves wanting attention, but you need a toolbox to get ahead. I started very young and, although you can pull instinct for a while, sooner or later you need a job, “he explains.

Gyllenhaal made her film debut at age 10, in comedy City cowboys (Ron Underwood, 1991), which was natural for a Hollywood son whose godparents were Paul Newman and Jamie Lee Curtis. The Gyllenhaals were a cultural aristocracy in Los Angeles (someone has defined them as some Kardashian intellectuals), so rigorous in the academic training of their children Jake and Maggie that when the child had the opportunity to participate in the Disney film We are the best his parents forbade it because filming would force him to miss two months of school. When he was 13 years old, Jake celebrated his Bar Mitzvah by helping out with a homeless shelter.

Today he is grateful to his parents because when he was a child they made an effort to protect a special sensitivity, so delicate that someone once told him it was “a doormat.” But with maturity the actor hardened and reflect today about certain qualities that he was losing (“something precious that vanished”) and about the years he has spent being an “unsolved” person looking for things outside himself. Specifically, seeking to experience them through their characters.

The actor It has been recognized that for many years his life was guided by his professional ambition. Last year David Fincher, who directed it in 2007 at Zodiac, counted in The New York Times that that shoot coincided with the official launch as a star of Gyllenhaal (with the consecutive premieres of Proof, Jarhead and Brokeback Mountain) and that it’s impossible to focus for a psychological introspection role when you have a dressing room full of people talking to you “about your next GQ cover”. Precisely, before the pandemic, Gyllenhaal was about to release a musical that reflects on the lives of artists, fame and how excessive ambition can obstruct personal happiness.

Jake Gyllenhaal has explained that in recent years he has reconsidered the “stereotypical” virility that he brought to some of his characters.Andrew Whelan

The argument of Sunday in the park with George, a Broadway classic for which Stephen Sondheim won the Pulitzer in 1985, it connects in an amazing way with the life of Gyllenhaal. His story is divided into two acts. In the first, the pointillist painter George Seurat becomes obsessed with creating his masterpiece to the point of completely neglecting his personal life. The second act stars a descendant of Seurat, also called George, who is an artist, has prestige and earns a lot of money, but is not called to be an artist that transcends the passage of time and generations. Finally the second George understands, in Gyllenhaal’s words, that “his best creation is his personal life.” He played both characters.

Every night during rehearsals, the actor traveled from one George to another and perhaps felt a parallel with his own journey: after many years prioritizing his work over his personal life, Gyllenhaal has also come to understand that his best creation is his personal life. “I think my priorities have changed in so many ways. If they hadn’t, I’d have a serious problem ”he confesses. “Much of my life has been dedicated to continuous work and in part that came from a fear of being alone with myself. It is true that part of my job has been to explore different aspects of myself, but it is less risky [explorarse a uno mismo] through work than to do it in my personal life ”.

One of those explorations has revolved around masculinity. The actor explained that, as part of that investigation, has come to approach characters of extreme and stereotyped virility. “I have spent years trying to understand what it is [la masculinidad]” counted last year. “Film after film, experience after experience, going to extremes like: ‘Is it on the physical plane? Is it a man with a gun? Is it a man who gets into a boxing ring? Is he a man who falls in love with another man? ‘ Now he seems determined to transfer that research to his personal life and stop doing it through his characters. Stop, as he himself has said, “hide” behind those characters.

“This last year has forced me to be more present in my own life and what I have discovered is that the rewards are much greater. And I think I will spend the rest of my life dedicating myself more to my life than to my work and that will probably influence my work for the better, ”he says.

At the beginning of the year the actor commemorated on his Instagram the 20th anniversary of the film that made him a cult actor and a rising star, Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001). Gyllenhaal thanked all the people who for the last two decades have approached him to ask “What the hell was he doing?” Donnie Darko? ”. What Donnie Said to Roberta Sparrow [personaje de la película] it is still true ”, he concluded. “There are many things to come that are worthwhile.” But at the suggestion of looking not forward, but back, Gyllenhaal is thoughtful for several seconds. What would you say to yourself if you could give yourself some advice on the first day of shooting that movie?

“When I started that experience I was in a difficult place” he finally starts, “I was a young boy facing his own emotions and his own problems, and that character allowed me to express my anxiety and my fear. I think what I would say to my younger self is: ‘Everything is going to be great. You are going to do well. You don’t have to play yourself so much. ” Gyllenhaal laughs shyly at this latest revelation, as if surprised to hear it himself. But far from limiting himself, he takes a run and continues his imaginary dialogue with himself. “You can just be yourself. I know I don’t let you sleep at night, I know you’re scared in many ways, but it’s going to be great for you as long as you continue … ”. Suddenly, he stops in his tracks and returns to the present: “I’d kill to talk to that kid … But he probably wouldn’t listen to me.”

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