Jake Gyllenhaal Drops Rob Marshall's Into The Woods For Nightcrawler

You’d think somebody would have to be crazy to drop out of a Rob Marshall-directed Disney musical, right? Especially when it’s based on Steven Sondheim’s stage play take on the Cinderella fairy tale, instead of some lesser-known property. Well call Jake Gyllenhaal crazy, because he’s had to drop the project in order to star in an indie thriller from a first-time director, according to TheWrap. Granted, I’d much rather see Gyllenhaal in a thriller than a musical anyway, but I’m sure others will be disappointed.

Gyllenhaal signed on to star in Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler back in April, and entered negotiations for Marshall’s Into the Woods in May, meant to star as Rapunzel’s Prince for that film. The Bold Films-funded Nightcrawler just received the go-ahead greenlight, and is set to begin a five-week shoot starting in October. As it often happens in Hollywood, that schedule would have conflicted heavily with Marshall’s all-star production, which would have required Gyllenhaal’s presence on set throughout October and November. Considering Into the Woods already has Johnny Depp, Chris Pine, Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick and Emily Blunt on board, the film wasn’t hinging on Gyllenhaal’s involvement and will probably fill that role quickly enough.

When I called out Dan Gilroy for being a first-time director earlier, I was being rather flip. Dan Gilroy, whose writer/director brother Tony will be producing the film along with Gyllenhaal and Jennifer Fox, is a screenwriter, most recently responsible for brother Tony’s so-soThe Bourne Legacy and Shawn Levy’s rock ‘em sock ‘em Real Steel. Gilroy also worked on the original Stan Lee project The Annihilator, though that has yet to come to life.

I don’t know if this is supposed to mean anything or not, but there’s no mention of co-star Rene Russo, who signed on for the film at the same time as Gyllenhaal. Assuming she doesn’t put on a bunch of make-up to play Rapunzel’s prince in Into the Woods, we’ll act as if she’s still starring in the film.

Nightcrawler still doesn’t have much of a plotline going for it just yet. All that’s known is Gyllenhaal will star as a bit criminal who finds himself caught up in the moonlit world of Los Angeles crime journalism. Even though it looks like he’ll still be some kind of an anti-hero, it isn’t often we see Gyllenhaal as anything but the good guy. Actually, it’s usually only in indie films like The Good Girl and Donnie Darko that the actor is allowed to embrace sketchy morals.

Having played a cop in last year’s End of Watch, Gyllenhaal will again be the man behind the badge in Denis Villeneuve’s crime thriller Prisoners opposite Hugh Jackman, and is also starring in Villeneuve’s thriller Enemy, in which he tries to seek out his own body double, whom he spotted in a movie. More recently, he joined talks to star in Baltasar Kormakur’s Mount Everest disaster film Everest. So it’ll be a busy year for Gyllenhaal, but at least he won’t have to worry about climbing up anyone’s hair.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.