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Spider-Man: Far From Home’s Jake Gyllenhaal Explains How Playing Mysterio Was ‘Cathartic’

Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

In 2019, Jake Gyllenhaal starred in Spider-Man: Far From Home as Quentin Beck/Mysterio, a member of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery many fans had been waiting to see on the big screen for a long time. Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio performance is one of the reasons some people place Far From Home higher up in their rankings of the Spider-Man movies, but the role meant a lot of the actor on a personal level. He’s even gone so far as to call his time as Mysterio being “cathartic.”

Jake Gyllenhaal stopped by Vanity Fair break down his career, with Spider-Man: Far From Home being sandwiched in the conversation between 2014’s Nightcrawler and his latest movie, the Michael Bay-directed Ambulance. The actor explained how Far From Home allowed him to act in a way that was more fun, saying:

What was interesting when I went into Spider-Man: Far From Home was that I’m pretty sure I was taking myself too seriously. In fact, I’m sure of it. I think I had really lost that sense of play and fun that I am. That class clown that I talk about that found that idea of just popping a shoulder and making a funny face. It was such a cathartic thing to be able to throw out away all that seriousness and really become the actor that I think I’ve always wanted to be in a lot of ways… And find the play and the fun and the gratitude that I’m here and I get to do this. And oh my god, it’s all about the family of making a movie. It’s all about the experience that you have with the people you’re making that film with. And I think that we go through journeys in our life where we’re finding ourselves. In the case of Spider-Man, I think I realized, ‘Hey, you know, acting is really fun, you know? Enjoy it! And the people here are fantastic! Enjoy them and enjoy the life around you cause life goes by super fast.’

There’s no question that Jake Gyllenhaal is a talented actor, as evidenced with accolades like an Academy Award nomination and two Golden Globe nominations. However, going into Spider-Man: Far From Home, Gyllenhaal felt he’d reached a point where he was taking himself too seriously, and thus incredibly distanced from the fun kind of acting that he enjoyed. Luckily for him, getting to play an over-the-top supervillain allowed him to not only rediscover that enjoyment, but also better appreciate the people around him who each have a special role to play in putting a movie together. It’s good to hear working on Far From Home was such a gratifying experience for him.

During the first half of Spider-Man: Far From Home, Quentin Beck was a pretty laid back character, but that’s only because he was presenting a facade to Tom Holland’s Peter Parker and the Nick Fury-disguised Talos (fun fact, the MCU’s Mysterio also could have been a Skrull) as part of his ruse to obtain the EDITH glasses Tony Stark left to Peter. Quentin concocted the Mysterio identity with a team of other people who had a bone to pick with the late Iron Man, presenting himself as a superhero from another Earth who was determined to protect our reality from the Elementals. However, once viewers learned what kind of man Quentin really was, and even more so when Peter Parker learned the truth, we saw how unhinged Jake Gyllenhaal’s character could be and why the Far From Home writers felt Mysterio was “perfect” to use in the sequel.

While Mysterio is a master of illusion and deceptions, and has faked his death numerous times in the comics, so far Spider-Man: Far From Home still looks like it’ll be Jake Gyllenhaal’s sole outing as the supervillain. Quentin Beck seemingly died when accidentally shot by one of his drones, but before being fatally wounded, he recorded one last surprise: framing Spider-Man for the Elemental attack in London and sharing that the Webbed Wonder was Peter Parker, which was broadcast to the world by The Daily Bugle in Far From Home’s mid-credits scene. This set the stage for what unfolded in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which also ended with Peter’s life being drastically changed.

If Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio does end up resurfacing, whether it’s in the next Tom Holland-led Spider-Man movie that’s being actively developed, or one of the entries in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, we’ll let you know. For now though, you can watch Gyllenhaal acting opposite actors like Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Eiza González in Ambulance, which CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg gave 3.5 out of 5 stars in his review.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.