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Jake Gyllenhaal has blossomed into one of the most talented young actors in Hollywood. He has always worked on the fringe in films like Donnie Darko and Brokeback Mountain, films that are vastly different from one another but are well-resepcted, and he has dominated in roles like Nightcrawler and Prisoners. Gyllenhaal is starring in the upcoming boxing drama, Southpaw, and here are nine things about the actor you may not have known…
1. Jake has a family full of Hollywood talent. He is the son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner, and the younger brother of Maggie Gyllenhaal. His godmother is Jamie Lee Curtis and godfather is Paul Newman.
2. Gyllenhaal himself is the godfather to Matilda Ledger, daughter of the late Heath Ledger who appeared alongside him in Brokeback Mountain.
3. He was set to play Spider-Man in Spider-Man 2 due to Tobey Maguire having injured his back while filming Seabiscuit. While Gyllenhaal was preparing for the role, Tobey recovered to reprise his role as Spider-Man.
4. Before success as an actor, he worked as a lifeguard. He never had any life-saving incidents, but he was rumored to perform one lesser rescue. A swimmer had been stung on the leg by a jellyfish, and allegedly Gyllenhaal helped relieve the pain of the stings by urinating on the swimmer’s leg.
5. He had his Bar Mitzvah party at a homeless shelter, something his parents encouraged to help him recognize how privileged his own childhood had been.
6. There was a biopic of Joe Namath in the works at one point, and Namath personally approved Gyllenhaal to portray him.
7. During the scene in Nightcrawler where Gyllenhaal talks to himself in the mirror, he got so into the scene that the mirror cracked, cutting his hand. He had to go to the hospital for 14 stitches, returning to the set after being discharged.
8. His favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird, and he has two dogs, Atticus and Boo named after characters in the novel.
9. Gyllenhaal’s first film role was in the 1991 hit movie City Slickers, where he played Billy Crystal’s son.