So why is Gyllenhaal trying to be jack of all genres? Well, before we go over the mounting group of projects to which Jake is attached, let's talk about the Oscars. No young actor in Hollywood is putting together a more eclectic resume than Jake Gyllenhaal these days. With the news (per Variety and the Hollywood Reporter) that he's negotiating to star in 'Source Code,' a sci-fi thriller to be directed by 'Moon' helmer (and David Bowie spawn) Duncan Jones, Gyllenhaal is poised to add science fiction to an already beefy arsenal of roles that spans almost every genre imaginable.
So why is Gyllenhaal trying to be jack of all genres? Well, before we go over the mounting group of projects to which Jake is attached, let's talk about the Oscars.
Most Hollywood actors -- and all major stars -- want to win Oscars. In actuality, though, relatively few have reasonable shots at winning one. Such an odd, rare alchemy is needed to box in that ring: the right timing, the right competition, the right role. Plus intangibles, like the actor's politics or whether Academy members deem them over-commercial, might come into play. (This is the reason some pundits use for why Tom Cruise remains Oscar-bereft.)
Film genre, too, can mean a lot: Actors in dramas win more Oscars than actors in comedies. Especially this decade, biopics can really give an actor the edge: the Best Actresses of 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 all won for playing real individuals; the Best Actors of 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 did, too.
Now back to Gyllenhaal. In addition to 'Source Code,' in which he'll play a soldier who wakes up in the body of an anonymous commuter and is forced to relive the same harrowing train bombing over and over again until he determines who's responsible, he's got a slew of wildly different projects on the horizon. He portrays the buffed-out hero of the upcoming video-game-based epic 'Prince of Persia,' giving him an action-adventure chit; plays Tobey Maguire's underachiever sibling in 'Brothers,' filling up the drama bucket; stars opposite Jessica Biel in 'Nailed,' in which he'll likely nail romantic comedy; and plays a traveling pharmaceutical salesman who falls for Anne Hathaway in 'Love and Other Drugs,' which takes care of straight-up romance.
And we know football legend Joe Namath personally approved Gyllenhaal to play him in an upcoming biopic. Indeed, Gyllenhaal has already played real people on screen three times: in 'October Sky,' 'Jarhead' and 'Zodiac.'
What could be behind the actor doing quite so many flicks? Could Gyllenhaal be aiming for an Oscar by dint of simply overwhelming the Academy with the volume and diversity of his work? We're not saying this is his only motivation. We're saying the opposite -- that he deserves one, and it's possible he may be pushing himself to max out his chances.