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Real Name: Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal, Jacob Gyllenhaal
Birthday: 12/19/1980
Place of Birth: California
Education: Columbia University, New York, New York, Eastern religion

 

Biography:

Dark haired with good looks, young actor Jake Gyllenhaal made a rousing start with his leading role in the favorite "October Sky” (1999). While this was his leading role debut, he had appeared in many movies in small, supporting roles, starting in "City Slickers" (1999) with a small role that received praise from screen dad Billy Crystal.  

He was next was seen in the children's adventure "Josh and S.A.M." (1993), portraying a nasty stepbrother to the main characters. The son of movie director father Stephen, and screenwriter mother Naomi Foner, the actor was also showcased in two of his dad's movies, "A Dangerous Woman" (1993, written by his mother and "Homegrown" in 1998 appearing with Jamie Lee Curtis and Billy Bob Thornton about three hopeless pot smokers who help run master dope-grower Malcoms flourishing marijuana plantation somewhere in northern California.

The subsequent year he made his big screen, leading man debut in "October Sky,” a film based on the true story of NASA engineer Homer Hickham Jr. Jake played Hickham, a young boy attracted to rocket science whose dazzling brain and commitment wrote him a ticket out of his dwindling mining settlement. Although he had little film experience, his performance in "October Sky" showed he was an actor on the rise. Featured in almost every scene, he changed into an exceedingly likeable screen personality, giving a most convincing and honest performance. While his humble good looks, and academic everyday life, didn't seize many headlines, his flair and reverence for his profession would guarantee his arrival and dazzling future in Hollywood.

The actor got the opportunity to shine again, when he starred in the fantasy film "Donnie Darko" in 2001. Also that year, he starred in the wacky comedy "Bubble Boy" as well as the production "Highway" with Jared Leto and Selma Blair. He then appeared opposite Jennifer Aniston in "The Good Girl" (2002), about a discount store clerk who strikes up an affair with a stock boy who considers himself the incarnation of Holden Caulfield. The actor was then cast in the film "Lovely and Amazing."

His most significant role to that point would would in "Moonlight Mile" (2002), where he starred with Dustin Hoffman and Holly Hunter. He played a childish man whose fiancé is killed by mistake and who finds himself spending a huge amount of time mourning with the family. He was almost cast as the superhero Spider-Man for the sequel "Spider-Man 2" (2004), when a disagreement between the characters originator, Tobey Maguire, and the studio nearly resulted in recasting Gyllenhaal has Spiderman, Instead, he was cast in another blockbuster film that was released at the same time as the "Spider-Man" sequel  in the calamity film "The Day After Tomorrow" (2004). He played the son of a weatherman who is trapped in New York City as a new ice age envelops the globe.

The actor has one of his best years in 2005, appearing in four successful feature films. First was "Proof," where he played a self destructive mathematics student who idolizes his bright but insane teacher, and forms a shaky attachment with his troubled daughter played by Gwyneth Paltrow. The film exhibited his most adult work to that point, and situated him well for potential roles as a romantic leading man in the future.  

His next film that year was "Jarhead" (2005), director Sam Mendes' perceptive, emotional story of former Unites States Marine Anthony Swofford's best selling account of his service during the 1990 Gulf War in Iraq, and the actor gave a philosophical and successful role as Swoff, an immature, green adolescence who enters the Marine Corp and is educated to be a sniper, but finds himself slowed by fear, boredom and spiritual agony when he is stationed in Iraq and not permitted to put his talents to use as countries perched on the edge of war. He was most believable, and took his performance to murky, questioning places that had not seemed possible early on in his career.

Even more convincing was his role in  Ang Lee's memorable and touching performance "Brokeback Mountain" (2005), a variation and expansion of E. Annie Proulx's well-known story which cast the actor as Jack Twist, who on a 1960's cattle drive across a mountain pass moves into a homosexual relationship with his closeted fellow ranch worker Ennis Del Mar played by Heath Ledger, a heartbreaking affair that continues on and off over twenty years. His character was far more open and gay than his partner, and the actor believably showed the long-term emotion in a role that showed even more height and understanding than any he had tried until that time. After a cold-shoulder at the Golden Globes, he was not nominated, he received an Oscar  for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

After “Brokeback Mountain,” he starred in “Zodiac” (2007), David Fincher’s view of the legendary Zodiac Killer, who was suspected of five ghastly murders in the Bay Area during the late 1960's. A mysterious killer who enjoyed taunting the media and investigators, the Zodiac’s character was never revealed, while quite a few other related murderers were attributed to the killer, adding an exciting thriller for a movie age greatly in need of modernization. The actor then played the part of Robert Graysmith, a cartoonist at the San Francisco Chronicle at the time of the killings who got caught up in the case, and later became the primary authority on the killer.

Next was the drama thriller "Rendition" (2007), about a CIA analyst who questions his assignment after witnessing an unusual interrogation at a secret detention facility outside the United States. He followed with the war drama "Brothers" (2008), about a young man who comforts his older brother's wife and children after he goes missing in Afghanistan. Based on Susanne Bier's film, "Brothers". Gyllenhaal then moved to a comedy role in "Nailed" (2009), about a small town waitress (Jessica Biel), who gets a nail accidentally lodged in her head causing unpredictable behavior that leads her to Washington, DC, where sparks fly when she meets a clueless young senator who takes up her cause. 

 

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