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Jake Gyllenhaal on his varied filmography: 'Acting is about being able to try new things'

The 43-year-old actor's latest film Road House, a remake of late Patrick Swayze's 1989 movie of the same name, is currently streaming on Prime Video

PTI New Delhi Published 22.03.24, 10:37 AM
Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal

Acting is all about using one's skills to try new things, says Hollywood star Jake Gyllenhaal, who didn't mind sweating it out in the gym to play a former UFC boxer in his new film "Road House". In a career of over 20 years, the actor has created a rich tapestry of diverse performances with films such as "Brokeback Mountain", "Zodiac", "Source Code", "Prisoners", "Nightcrawler", "Nocturnal Animals", "Enemy", "Spider-Man: Far From Home" and "Ambulance".

The actor said not a lot of thought has gone into building his filmography but his choices constantly evolve with "relationships, people and things".


"I love different genres. I like the idea of being able to use my skills to try new things, try and test them and push them. I think the idea of acting, in particular, is about the fun of being able to change and try a new outfit or a different behaviour," Gyllenhaal told PTI in an interview.

"I try to use the joy of change that is inherent to acting in the choices that I make. And I try to move with things that bring me joy. That's really at the heart of it for me," he added.

"Road House" is a remake of late Hollywood star Patrick Swayze's 1989 movie of the same name. It was released on streaming service Prime Video on Thursday.

In this new take, Gyllenhaal stars as a former UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) middleweight fighter who ends up working at a roadhouse, an old-fashioned term for a small bar on the main road in a city or town.

The actor, 43, underwent a gruelling workout regime to get in shape for the movie, in which he is pitted against world famous professional mixed martial artist (MMA) and boxer, Connor McGregor.

Gyllenhaal said he likes to push himself physically, something that he has learnt from his father, filmmaker Stephen Gyllenhaal.

"I am a physical person. Since I was a kid, I have loved sports and my dad was always very athletic. He instilled that in me and I found that it's so helpful, particularly as a performer, to be in a place where you can deliver things for the stage.

"Being in shape has always been so helpful to me. And then also mental health. It's so good to be in shape and have that outlet. I've always found it an anchor for me," he added.

With the character he has played or wants to essay on screen, Gyllenhaal said he embraces the "physical, mental and intellectual challenge" as part of the development process.

"And this proved to be fun, to create a character who I could get in great shape and work with fun people who I enjoy working with. I like pushing myself. I think that's interesting. And when a role gives me that opportunity, I love to do that." "Road House", directed by Doug Liman of "The Bourne Identity", "Mr & Mrs Smith" and "Edge of Tomorrow" fame, features Gyllenhaal as Dalton, an ex-UFC fighter trying to escape his dark past and his penchant for violence.

Dalton, as per the official plotline, is barely scraping by on the reputation that still precedes him when he is spotted by Frankie, owner of a roadhouse in the Florida Keys. She hires him to be her new bouncer in hopes of stopping a violent gang, working for crime boss Brandt from destroying her beloved bar.

But the stakes get higher with the arrival of ruthless gun-for-hire, Knox. As the brutal brawls and bloodshed escalate, the tropical Keys prove more dangerous than anything Dalton ever faced in the Octagon.

Gyllenhaal had the opportunity to collaborate with the original movie's star Swayze, when they worked on 2001 cult classic "Donnie Darko".

"Patrick and I never spoke about 'Road House' in particular, though he knew that I was a huge fan of his. All of his films, like 'Point Break', I've watched maybe hundreds of times, and then 'Dirty Dancing' and 'Ghost' and so on," he said, recalling the actor, who passed away at the age of 57 in 2009 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

But his version of "Road House" stands alone in a lot of ways, the actor said.

"It is a reimagining of the idea. It definitely takes some of the ideas from the original. There is a difference between the two. In this one, there is a real sense of humour. There's a different sense of tone and that tone comes from Doug Liman, our director, who is such a funny guy, but also does action so well.

"He also understands the minutiae of performance in those scenes. And so there are similarities in a way, but ultimately it is so wholly a Doug Liman film and that's what makes it different," Gyllenhaal added.

"Road House" is produced by Joel Silver. It also features Daniela Melchior, Billy Magnussen, Jessica Williams and Lukas Gage.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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