The year of Jake Gyllenhaal
By Carolann Curry
are, you have at least heard of the independent actor and environmental/human
rights enthusiast Jake Gyllenhaal (pronounced Jill-in-hall) in passing,
but you might not know much else besides that he has a funny-sounding
last name. You might not be aware just how talented and dedicated
this 23-year-old is, both to his acting career and his passion for
certain charities and causes.
is the son of screenwriter Naomi Foner and film director Stephen Gyllenhaal
(“Homegrown,” “Losing Isaiah” and select TV episodes of “Twin Peaks,”
“Felicity” and “The Shield”). Jake was born Dec. 19, 1980, and has
a sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal, who is also a success in the entertainment
industry (“Secretary,” “40 Days and 40 Nights,” “Mona Lisa Smile”).
As you can see, Jake grew up in a family full of film sensations.
In fact, when Jake was a teenager, he received his first driving lesson
from Paul Newman, who is also his godfather.
first cinematic role came in 1991 with a small appearance in “City
Slickers.” By his teenage years, Jake had been in half a dozen major
film roles, and the one that projected the young star was “October
Sky,” based on the true story of Homer Hickam, a boy who grew up in
the 1950s and had a passion for building and flying rockets.
has received a great deal of recognition and even garnered an Independent
Spirit Award nomination for the cult classic film “Donnie Darko.”
Other movies on Jake’s résumé are the lighthearted Disney comedy “Bubble
Boy”; “The Good Girl,” a dark romantic drama co-starring Jennifer
Aniston; “Highway,” featuring Selma Blair and Jared Leto; and “Moonlight
Mile” starring Susan Sarandon and Dustin Hoffman. Jake also has a
passion for theater, appearing in London in the stage production “This
is Our Youth.” Jake says on his official fan site, “In a perfect world,
I would like to do one play for every three movies.”
of Jake’s career decisions have been to make smaller films, many of
them independent. He has a history of choosing emotional roles that
delve into controversial or shadowed topics. “The Good Girl” is the
story of a married woman trying to escape her marginal life, choosing
to have a fling with a young co-worker, played by Jake.
until 2004, Jake didn’t have much experience in mainstream Hollywood
year is predicted to be an extremely successful year for Jake. May
marked the release of the highly anticipated apocalyptic film “The
Day After Tomorrow.” Jake plays alongside Dennis Quiad in this big-budget
production documenting the outcome of global warming in a worst-case
scenario, only reinforcing Jake’s strong feelings about the environment.
“The Day After Tomorrow” is directed by Roland Emmerich, director
of “Independence Day.”
will also star with Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins in “Proof,”
based on the play of the same name, which will also be released in
isn’t your typical Hollywood icon. He has a passion for human rights,
is a vehement advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
and has appeared in several ads for the organization.
is a huge environmentalist as well. He has planted several trees in
South Africa for the Future Forests organization, which strives to
repopulate the planet with new forests and trees to reverse the Greenhouse
also urges teens to stay in school and go to college. Even though
he dropped out of Columbia University to pursue acting, he feels education
is very important to the success of young adults.
looks like Jake isn’t going anywhere but into the spotlight, and 2004
marks the year of his dent in the entertainment industry. Jake is
scheduled to begin production on several films to be released in late
2004 and 2005.
Mountain” will co-star Heath Ledger (“A Knight’s Tale,” “The Patriot,”
“The Order”) and is expected to be controversial; the premise of the
film is described as the tale of two young ranchers, and the plot
skims the surface of homosexuality. Other films are in the pre-production
Darko,” Jake’s 2001 independent psychological thriller and genre-breaking
success will be re-released in U.S. theaters this summer. As a result
of fan efforts and petitions, writer/director Richard Kelly is releasing
the director’s cut with updated special effects and 20 minutes of
extra footage not available even on the current DVD.
through his roles, has distinguished himself from other young actors.
Keep your eyes peeled for Jake Gyllenhaal in 2004 and beyond because
with talent and drive like he has, he is destined for success in the
years to come.
Carolann Curry is a 20-year-old
college student double-majoring in English literature and mass communications
with an emphasis on journalism. She is attending Flagler College in
St. Augustine, Fla. If you have any questions, comments or input,
feel free to reach her at SparkleSplash16@yahoo.com.