Brown-haired, fresh-faced young actor Jake Gyllenhaal received wide recognition while portraying neurotic teenager Donnie Darko (2001) in the thriller movie with the same name. Debuting with the smash hit comedy City Slickers (1991), Gyllenhaal later gained more credit by acting in such films as October Sky (1999), The Good Girl (2002, opposite Jennifer Aniston) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004, alongside Dennis Quaid). In 2005, he starred in the screen version of the highly praised David Auburn's play, Proof, alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins.
Jake Gyllenhaal, also known as Jacob Gyllenhaal, achieved acclaim on stage as well. In 2002, he scored an Evening Standard Theater Award for Outstanding Newcomer after starring in Kenneth Lonergan's remake of This Is Our Youth in London's West End Theater.
Swedish, Russian-Jewish descent Gyllenhaal, who stands 6 feet tall, was listed as one of People Magazine's 50 Hottest Bachelors in 2004. As for his private life, the rising actor was once linked to Spider-Man actress Kirsten Dunst. There is speculation that the couple faked a break-up to cover their wedding plans. Commenting to the rumors, Dunst clarified, "I'm too young to get married. It's so annoying that they put pressure on you."
More recent, Gyllenhaal and actress Salma Hayek reportedly joined
Canadian Inuit in the Arctic Circle for a customary spring dance on Earth Day Friday. The activity, sponsored by The Natural Resources
Defense Council and Global Green USA, was aimed to call attention to the effect of global warming on northern Canada.
Son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal (born on October 4, 1949) and producer/screenwriter Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal was born on December 19, 1980. He has one older sister, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal (born on November 16, 1977), who played his sister in the film Donnie Darko. He is also the nephew of Eric Foner.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Jake attended a local elementary school with Maroon 5 band members and with Freaks and Geeks (1999) star Jason Segel while studying in Harvard-Westlake High School (graduated in 1998). For one year, Jake studied at the Columbia University in New York but dropped out to pursue an acting career.
Jake's favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird and his dog is named
after the book's main character, Atticus. Off screen, Jake is a friend to actress Natalie Portman and Bryce Dallas Howard.
Growing up in a family surrounded by the film scene, Jake Gyllenhaal has shown his deep interest in acting since his childhood and performed in several school productions. At 10 years old, he managed to step in to the film industry. His debut role was Billy Crystal's son in the runaway success summer comedy City Slickers (1991).
Two years later, Gyllenhaal appeared in his parents' film inspired by Mary McGarry Morris' novel, the romantic drama A Dangerous Woman (with Debra Winger). He also shared the screen with Jacob Tierney and Noah Fleiss in Billy Weber's comic adventure Josh and S.A.M. On the small screen, Gyllenhaal was spotted as a guest in an episode of the crime drama series Homicide: Life on the Street (in January of 1994), which was helmed by his father.
His career seemed to come to a standstill until 1998 when he returned to film with a bit part in his father's 1998 thriller comedy Homegrown (starring Billy Bob Thornton). Gyllenhaal subsequently won his first notable leading role of Homer Hickman, a coal miner's son who attempted to launch a rocket, in Joe Johnston's biopic October Sky (adopted from Homer H. Hickam Jr.'s book). The cast also included actors Chris Owen, William Lee Scott, Chad Lindberg and Laura Dern.
The titular role of a teenager haunted by visions of a giant, evil rabbit, Donnie Darko (2001, costarring Jena Malone and Drew Barrymore), in a sci-fi movie with the same title, was Gyllenhaal's breakout role. Donnie Darko, which was helmed by Richard Kelly and produced by Drew Barrymore, received rave reviews at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. Gyllenhaal also received praise and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor. The film then spawned its following installments, Swimfan/Donnie Darko (2002) and Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut (2004), with Gyllenhaal reprising his role in both.
More notable roles arrived in the following years. In 2001, Gyllenhaal starred as a young man born without an immune system in Walt Disney's romantic comedy, Blair Hayes' Bubble Boy. After playing Catherine Keener's perceptive boss in Nicole Holofcener's drama comedy Lovely & Amazing (2001), Gyllenhaal portrayed Jennifer Aniston's affair partner in Miguel Arteta's romantic comedy, the Sundance 2002 favorite movie, The Good Girl (also starring John C. Reilly, Zooey Deschanel and Catherine O' Hara).
On stage, Gyllenhaal debuted with a starring role in Kenneth Lonergan's reproduction of This Is Our Youth in spring of 2002. The play ran for eight weeks in London's West End. It also earned Gyllenhaal an Evening Standard Theater Award for Outstanding Newcomer.
Meanwhile, Gyllenhaal's motion picture work continued to roll. He became Jared Leto's best pal in James Cox's drama Highway (2002, also with Selma Blair) and starred as a young man trapped in his dead fiancée's family in Brad Silberling's Moonlight Lime (2002, alongside Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon).
Roland Emmerich's mega-budgeted movie The Day After Tomorrow was Gyllenhaal's credited film work in 2004. In the film he portrayed Dennis Quaid's son, Sam Hall, a scholastic contestant caught in New York when the city is overwhelmed by the chilling beginnings of the new Ice Age. He followed it up with John Madden's drama Proof in 2005, which also stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins and Hope Davis. In the screen version of David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Gyllenhaal plays Hal, Gwyneth Paltrow's helpful friend and Anthony Hopkins' student.
Gyllenhaalics, a name for Jake Gyllenhaal's fans, will continue to watch the Hollywood young heartthrob in a string of films in upcoming years. He will star in David Fincher's adaptation of Robert Graysmith's book, the real-event-based thriller Zodiac (with Robert Downey Jr.) and in Sam Mendes' film inspired by Anthony Swofford's novel, the drama action Jarhead (alongside Jamie Foxx). He will also play lead roles in the movie version of E. Annie Proulx's short story, Ang Lee's romantic drama Brokeback Mountain (opposite Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway), Neil Jordan's adventure comedy Me and My Monster, as well as star in Stephen Hopkins' action Nautica (costarring Heath Ledger).
"Being a star doesn't last. That's not what life should be about. It's a complete illusion that really has nothing to do with you. For me, finding out about life is the most important thing." Jake Gyllenhaal
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