Most big stars in modern Hollywood have a film series they can call their own -- but Jake Gyllenhaal is not most big stars. While he has certainly starred in movies during his 25-year career that were born with franchise potential in mind, to date he has not once reprised a character that he has played. Having found this a curiosity, I asked Gyllenhaal about it when I sat down for an interview with him recently, and his explanation was simple: it really has to do with the way his mood tends to swing from project-to-project.
I had the pleasure of talking with Jake Gyllenhaal this weekend during the Los Angeles press day for his new drama, director Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals. After discussing his dual roles in the movie and his use of the film's novel source material for his performance, I concluded the interview by asking why it was that he has never done a sequel. He gave me his reasoning in response:
The character that I play, you need to feel like it's significant enough to want to continue a story. And it's funny, I was thinking about that the other day, just because I'm constantly changing the way that I feel and think... but it's also just like, one thing leads to another. I want to play this role [in Nocturnal Animals] because I had played a role that was so powerful, and now he's powerless, and I wanted to explore that idea. But [making a sequel is] not something I'm against.
Jake Gyllenhaal didn't specify the title and the performance that inspired him to take on Nocturnal Animals as a contrast project, but the way his projects have lined up suggest that he was referring to Jean-Marc Vallée's Demolition - which makes a good degree of sense. Both Nocturnal Animals and Demolition feature Gyllenhaal's character suffering a close, monumental loss, but in the latter film his response is more about retaking power of his life and physically destroying the past. That's the antithesis of what the actor goes through in the new Tom Ford movie, highlighting it as an interesting choice for him.
In the interview, Gyllenhaal certainly suggests that the hunger he feels for keeping things fresh and different as he takes on new roles has somewhat prevented him from pursuing sequels for his projects -- but the good news is that the result of that variety has been a number of absolutely incredible and memorable performances. Hopefully we will eventually get to see him take on a role multiple times, but it's hard to complain about is output as it is.
You can watch Jake Gyllenhaal talk about his lack of sequels during our interview in the vide below: