Jake Gyllenhaal: “My education is ultimately what has made me a successful actor”

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Jake Gyllenhaal, currently in previews for Roundabout Theatre Company’s, If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet, says that versatility is what fuels his acting.

“Variation keeps me inspired,” he told BroadwayWorld.com.  “I always like finding roles that are different from the one I played before.  And I love playing intentions in scenes differently every night on stage and in every take on a movie.  I always try and challenge myself and surprise my fans.  It makes it fun for everyone.”

Although Gyllenhaal has a lot of experience, he is still deferential towards the director of each project he’s involved with.  “The director is the leader, and I’m not sure that I would say it’s about collaboration,” he said.  “It’s ultimately about trying to service his or her vision.  If I have an idea, I will always share it—I’m not shy.  I don’t believe in a dictatorship, but in the end it’s the director’s decision as to what will be suitable to their production.  I like a director who has a clear and simple sense of what they want to say.  When dealing with something as complicated as family drama, it takes great intelligence to make things clear and simple for an audience.”

Gyllenhaal didn’t just walk into this career.  “I was born in Los Angeles, CA,” he said.  “I decided I wanted to be an actor at an early age.  I remember watching Danny Kaye in The Court Jester when I was around five years old and being thrilled at the prospect of maybe doing what he was doing one day.  I went to acting classes in the San Fernando Valley as a young kid, acted throughout high school and began auditioning professionally at 14 or so, but I have never been formally trained.  My parents always encouraged me to get a formal education.  They stressed that it would help in whatever I ended up choosing to be my career.  At 16 I landed my first professional acting gig, a movie called October Sky.  I ended up making that movie during the second semester of my senior year in high school and then went to college in NYC after.  My education is ultimately what has made me a successful actor.”

For more info on the play, click here

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