Jake Gyllenhaal comes from a very talented family. He is the brother of popular actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, son of actor Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner. However, his success in the movie industry is due to his own talent, dedication and sheer hard work. Indeed, he has impressed us all by convincingly playing some of the toughest, most disturbing and violent roles in his movie career so far.

Here are five reasons why you should not mess with Jake Gyllenhaal.

1. He can come unhinged any minute. (Jarhead, 2005)

Marine recruit Anthony Swafford in a pensive mood, alone in the bunks Photo credit: www.sky.com

Marine recruit Anthony Swafford in a pensive mood, alone in the bunks
Photo credit: www.sky.com

When he was just 25, Gyllenhaal played the role of a Anthony Swofford, a marine recruit in Jarhead. Following a mishap at camp, Swafford is demoted and put on “shit-burning” detail. The punishments, combined with the heat, the boredom, and Swofford’s suspicions of his girlfriend’s infidelity, give Swofford a mental breakdown, to the point where he threatens another marine with a rifle, then orders the marine to shoot him instead. Shortly after this meltdown, Operation Desert Storm begins and the Marines are sent to the Saudi Arabia-Kuwait border to fight.

2. He can control the sands of time. (Prince of Persia, 2010)
Dastan and Princess Tamina on the run, in Prince of Persia Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

Dastan and Princess Tamina on the run, in Prince of Persia
Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

Gyllenhaal plays Dastan, the adopted son of Persia’s king. In the holy city of Alamut resides the Sands of Time, which gives mortals the power to turn back time. The adventurous prince goes on the run with a Moren Alamut princess named Tamina (Gemma Arterton) after being accused of killing his father. Together they fight to protect an ancient dagger, which is the key to the Sands of Time, and capture the king’s real assassin.

To play this role, Gyllenhaal worked hard with a personal trainer to build a hero’s body; rock hard abs and added size and strength to his frame.

3. He is a trained fighter. (End of Watch, 2012)

Jake Gyllenhaal in action as a police officer in End of Watch Photo credit: collider.com

Jake Gyllenhaal in action as a police officer in End of Watch
Photo credit: collider.com

In this movie, Gyllenhaal plays a police officer, Brian Taylor. Brian and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña) patrol one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles. They are long time partners and always have each other’s back. The pair have to fight for justice, and for their lives when they go against a vicious Mexican drug cartel.

This low budget film was shot in just 22 days, but he spent 5 months preparing for this role. He had ride-alongs for 2-3 times a week for those five months from 4 in the afternoon until 4 in the morning. He also did fight training almost every morning with a dojo in Echo Park and tactical training with Rick Lopez who trained S.W.A.T. with live ammunition. On his very first day of training, during a ride-along, he saw someone murdered.

4. Underneath that veneer of calm is a well of intense rage. (Prisoners, 2013)

In Prisoners, Gyllenhaal’s character Loki cuts an intimidating figure. He is a tattooed, obsessive cop assigned to the case of two young girls who have vanished from their neighborhood. Loki dedicates every waking moment to the case, which is made even more difficult by his wranglings with one of the missing girl’s grief-stricken, emotionally deranged father, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman).

Here’s a clip of the rage scene in Prisoners. Jake Gyllenhaal’s acting is always so emotion driven and intense.

5. You can deal him with immeasurable loss and he will still come back to whoop your a**. (Southpaw, 2015)

Jake Gyllenhaal plays boxer Billy Hope in Southpaw Photo credit: GV.com.sg

Jake Gyllenhaal plays boxer Billy Hope in Southpaw
Photo credit: GV.com.sg

The latest movie staring Gyllenhaal opens in cinemas on 23rd July. In Southpaw, Gyllenhaal takes on the role of Billy “The Great” Hope, the reigning Junior Middleweight Champion. His unorthodox stance, the “Southpaw,” consists of an ineloquent, though brutal, display of offensive fighting, one fueled by his own feelings of inadequacy and a desperate need for love, money and fame.

A tender moment between Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his wife Maureen Hope (Rachel McAdams). Photo credit: GV.com.sg

A tender moment between Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his wife Maureen Hope (Rachel McAdams).
Photo credit: GV.com.sg

With a beautiful family, home and financial security, Billy is on top both in and out of the ring until a tragic accident leaves his wife dead and sends him into a downward spiral.

Billy Hope's (Jake Gyllenhaal) expression of pure rage in the ring. Photo credit: GV.com.sg

Billy Hope’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) expression of pure rage in the ring.
Photo credit: GV.com.sg

To play this character, Gyllenhaal seriously bulked up and got insanely ripped. Apparently, Gyllenhaal gained about 15 pounds of pure muscle for the role of Billy Hope. According to his trainer, former professional boxer Terry Claybon, it six months of training before filming even started. His routine included a work out for an incredible six hours per day, including 2,000 sit ups, 1,000 each morning and the same at night. The transformation is impressive, especially when just a few months prior to starting training for this role, Jake had lost 30 pounds when he was playing the role of a weedy looking freelance crime reporter Lou, in Nightcrawler. One cannot deny that this man is very dedicated to his craft.

Southpaw opens in cinemas on July 23, but you can catch it early if you’re a Golden Village Movie Club member.

Here are the details:

Date: Wednesday, 22 July 2015
Theatres and showtimes: GV Suntec, 7.10pm; GV Yishun, 7.15pm; GV Grand, 9pm
Ticket Price:
$10 (members only)
Click here to book tickets.