When it comes to the superhero genre, a definitive line has been drawn in the sand. Some view them as overly commercial and unnecessarily ubiquitous; then there are people who adore them for their ability to combine genuinely enthralling characterizations with pulse-pounding set pieces. As it turns out, Jake Gyllenhaal is the latter. He recently admitted he has a deep admiration for the genre, and don’t you dare fight him on that.
According to a report from THR, during a panel at SXSW an attendee made a crack that Jake Gyllenhaal probably felt glad that he hadn’t done a superhero movie. He then went on to defend the genre, as well as assert his admiration for it:
Ultimately what he seems to be getting at is the idea that superheroes – like any other character in a film – are people. Sure, superhero movies are full of bombastic action sequences and awesome special effects, but characters like Thor, Batman, or Wolverine have traits that can inform other roles. With regards to Jake Gyllenhaal, it sounds like he may have used Thor in order to inform recent roles like Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler, or Billy Hope in Southpaw.
Despite the fact that he’s one of the finest actors working today, Jake Gyllenhaal really hasn’t done much in the way of superheroes. Rumors swirled last year that he could have taken on the role of Rick Flagg in this summer’s Suicide Squad, but aside from that he has generally kept away from the genre. Perhaps that’s because he uses the genre for inspiration, and as such doesn’t want to taint his pool of influence by becoming part of it.
Of course, Jake Gyllenhaal's soft spot for superhero movies makes sense, considering the fact that his sister Maggie Gyllenhaal had an integral role in one of the best comic book adaptations of all time. Her portrayal of Rachel Dawes in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight not only stole the show on numerous occasions, but also provided one of the most human and tragic love stories for any on-screen superhero in recent memory.
As fans of the superhero genre, it’s nice to see a prestigious member of the Hollywood community come to its defense. Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the most endearing, and respectable actors working today; if he ever decides he wants to finally do a superhero movie, you can bet that we will most certainly be the first ones in line for tickets.