The following biography
Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal (pronounced Jill-en-hall)
(born December 19, 1980 in Los Angeles, California) is an American film actor
and up-and-coming youth icon.
Jake is the son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and
producer/screenwriter Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, and the brother of actress Maggie
Gyllenhaal, who also played his sister in Donnie Darko. The siblings also worked
together in the film A Dangerous Woman. His father is of partial Swedish
heritage and his mother is Jewish of Ashkenazi heritage. His uncle is Eric Foner,
a well known American historian at Columbia University. His father's family is
descended from the Swedish noble Gyllenhaal family.
Gyllenhaal made his film debut in City Slickers
(1991) and began to establish himself as an up-and-coming actor in such films as
October Sky (1999) before being cast in the title role in Donnie Darko (2001),
for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best actor.
Gyllenhaal's performance as a troubled schizophrenic won him excellent reviews
and the film quickly acquired cult status. He played opposite Jennifer Aniston
in another Sundance favourite in 2002's The Good Girl and once again earned good
reviews. Gyllenhaal also starred in the Walt Disney romantic comedy, Bubble Boy.
Loosely based on the story of David Vetter, the film portrays the title
character's adventure outside the confines of his bubble as he goes after the
woman he loves before she marries the wrong man.
Marking his theatre debut, Gyllenhaal appeared on
the London stage with a starring role in Kenneth Lonergan's revival of This Is
Our Youth. The play, which had been a critical sensation on Broadway, ran for
eight weeks in London's West End. For his role, Gyllenhaal received an Evening
Standard Theatre Award in the category of "Outstanding Newcomer."
Gyllenhaal's performance in Jarhead (2005) came as
a surprise to critics and fans alike. Gyllenhaal played against type, displaying
a markedly hostile masculinity as a violent Marine Corps soldier during Gulf War
I, while balancing this with the sensitive, vulnerable qualities of the lead
Brokeback Mountain (2005), which stars Jake
Gyllenhaal, won the coveted Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival 2005. When
asked of his thoughts on playing a character who falls in love with another man,
Gyllenhaal showed comfort with his own same-sex attractions by openly stating
every man goes through a period of questioning attractions for other men.
However, he later told Details magazine, "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."
Gyllenhaal has an "on-again, off-again"
relationship with actress Kirsten Dunst. The two lived together briefly, but
continue to appear together in public. Jake is friends with Maroon 5 frontman
Adam Levine, and the two have known each other since kindergarten. He has a
German Shepherd named "Atticus" and a Puggle named "Boo Radley", named after
characters from the novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
Fans of Gyllenhaal refer to themselves as "Gyllenhaalics".
Year Title Role Other notes
2006 Zodiac Graysmith Pre-production
2005 Brokeback Mountain Jack Twist In theatres
2005 Jarhead Anthony Swofford ("Swoff") In theatres
2005 Proof Hal
2004 The Day After Tomorrow Sam Hall
2002 Moonlight Mile Joe Nast
2002 The Good Girl Holden Worther
2001 Donnie Darko Donnie Darko
2001 Bubble Boy Jimmy Livingston
1999 October Sky Homer Hickam
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December 19, 2005
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