Jake Gyllenhaal Wants Roles That ‘Freak Him Out a Bit’: ‘The Feeling I Want to Have Is, Can I Do it?’

With a career that’s ranged 33 years — over three quarters of his life — Jake Gyllenhaal has covered nearly every type of character, genre, and form, but in a recent interview in The Hollywood Reporter, he said he’s now focused on taking on roles that  “freak me out a bit.” Whether that means getting cut and learning to give and take a beating for Doug Liman’s “Road House” remake or wading through the moral and ethical murk of murder and infidelity in the upcoming Apple TV+ mini-series “Presumed Innocent,” Gyllenhaal is game for a challenge.

“The feeling I want to have is, can I do it?” said Gyllenhaal. “That it’s going to ask of me things that I don’t know about myself yet.”

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Gyllenhaal attributes this desire push himself further to his sister Maggie. He’ll be taking part in her latest directorial effort, “The Bride!,” a reinvention of James Whales’ 1935 sequel “The Bride of Frankenstein,” and praises his sibling’s ability to venture into the unknown.

“My sister has always been brilliant,” said Gyllenhaal. “What it did was present something to me that I inevitably would always be chasing. She takes a step and does something and I’m like, ‘Whoa, holy shit. All right, I’m going to try this.’”

Tracing it back even further, Gyllenhaal believes this exploratory desire was passed down from their artist parents (their father is director Stephen Gyllenhaal and mother is screenwriter Naomi Foner).

“My parents were really busy and working a lot,” he said to The Hollywood Reporter. “I spent a lot of time as a kid being like, ‘What’s that mean? What is that? Are they going?’”

This inquisitiveness has bled back into his work and continues to this day as he prepares to take on his latest challenge, starring opposite Denzel Washington in a new Broadway production of Shakespeare’s “Othello.”

“It is learning another language,” Gyllenhaal said of taking on The Bard. “I have a bit of dyslexia, too, particularly within the articles of things — like, I’ll reverse them. Many people say, ‘But you learn so fast.’ And I’m like, ‘I drill these things.’”

Based on the 1987 novel of the same name and previously adapted into a film starring Harrison Ford in 1990, the television adaptation of “Presumed Innocent” streams June 12 on Apple TV+.

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