Why Jake Gyllenhaal Loves the Challenge of Drastically Changing His Body For Films

by Denny Directo 2:13 PM PST, December 02, 2014
Playing Why Jake Gyllenhaal Loves the Challenge of Drastically Changing His Body For Films

When Jake Gyllenhaal takes on a movie role he really commits.

Hours after photos surfaced showing a nearly unrecognizable and incredibly buff Gyllenhaal on the set of his new movie Southpaw, ET caught up with the actor on the red carpet at the Gotham Independent Film Awards. This is the second movie in a row for which Jake has drastically changed his physical appearance – he lost 30 pounds to play sociopathic cameraman Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler.

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Photo: Associated Press

"The most interesting thing is getting inside the head of a character," the 33-year-old told ET of his on-screen transformations. "If someone has written something that demands you to shape yourself into the character they've written, I think that's the most interesting thing. That kind of challenge is I think interesting to watch and it's why I do what I do."

The dedication could soon pay off for Gyllenhaal. The actor is getting serious award season buzz for his performance and it appears he has another big year ahead with Southpaw.

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Photo: Weinstein Company

In the Antoine Fuqua-directed film Gyllenhaal takes on the role of Billy Hope, a boxer who fights his way to the top of his sport, only to find his life falling apart around him.

"Jake is going to change how people see him," Fuqua told Deadline. "I had him training twice I had him training twice a day in the boxing ring, he did two-a-days seven days a week. I pretty much had him with me and my trainer every day. I took him to almost every fight. I had him train at Floyd Mayweather’s gym in Vegas and we watched Floyd’s fights, and the Manny Pacquiao fight. He trained in New York at Church Gym with real fighters. We literally turned him into a beast."

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But don't think Gyllenhaal does it for the buzz or recognition, Gyllenhaal admits he relishes in taking on the life of a character.

"You really go, 'Oh wow. I spent a little time in the mind of someone I would never be like,'" he told ET. "Somehow you really kind of understand, even if the character you're playing is somewhat despicable."

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