Jake Gyllenhaal has a new movie, so he’s done some press and we are the beneficiaries. Covers of Esquire UK, Details, Vibe and I think GQ too (but it’s not out yet.) He strikes me as a pretty serious guy that goes along with this stuff, interviews, covers, red carpet because it allows him to do his work, but is there anybody better at selling Jake with this 1,000 watt smile. Now the body is ripped under there too, as you can see from the stills and video from his Rocky-style outing, Southpaw. Here’s a little excerpt form the Details interview by Joe Levy…
“People say, ‘You made all these changes in your life, and all your movies seem so different now. I really like the movies you’re making now,'” Gyllenhaal says. “Which implies that they didn’t . . .” There is a knowing smile and a low, mischievous chuckle. In truth, he’s been making dark, interesting movies for a long time, since Donnie Darko in 2001, and wrestling with masculine archetypes in many others: as a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain, a marine sniper in Jarhead, even the money-hungry ass man of Love & Other Drugs. It may be Gyllenhaal’s life, more than his movies, that has changed.
“I was trying to figure out a lot of stuff,” he says. He was in his twenties, unsure of his “place in things.” That’s the way he puts it now. He put it more bluntly to David Ayer, the director of End of Watch, as Ayer recounted in a 2012 interview with the entertainment-news website HitFix: “I’m sick of everything,” he recalled Gyllenhaal telling him. “I’m sick of my life and I want to change it.”
At a distance, it feels less like a sickness than a search. “We’re all told we’re going to get to a place where those things will come together, where we’ll somehow be whole or happy or whatever it is,” he says. “So I went searching.”
What he hoped to find was collaborative directors, stories that draw on the subconscious, and the chance to work out issues he himself was facing. In Enemy, he plays both a meek college professor and the man’s doppelgänger, a bearded, macho actor with the key to a sex club. The two characters offered him a chance to wrestle with the idea of reconciling intimacy and lust, and, more important, to stage a confrontation with the self at a time when that’s precisely what he was doing in real life.
“I was at a place in my life where I felt totally split,” he says. “I had just moved from Los Angeles to New York.” His sister and her husband, Peter Sarsgaard, live in Brooklyn with their two young daughters. His mother, the screenwriter and director Naomi Foner, also eventually settled in New York following her split from the director Stephen Gyllenhaal after three decades of marriage in 2008. “There’s a period of time in your life, in your twenties, when you’re listening to a lot of other people’s opinions,” Gyllenhaal says. “You’re not sure about what you believe in, and you’re moving in a direction that you feel like looks right to other people. And then you think, Wait, what do I feel? What do I want? What moves me? It’s not always so pure and clear. It’s not like I have my agent on one shoulder and my pure artist on the other.”