Warner Bros. Premiere of 'Prisoners,' Jake GyllenhaalEric Charbonneau/Invision/AP


From seeing giant rabbits to secret cowboy love affairs, Jake Gyllenhaal has dabbled in a little bit of everything, and now he's out to solve a kidnapping case.

In Denis Villeneuve's thriller "Prisoners," Gyllenhaal plays Detective Loki (finally an official investigator, unlike his Graysmith in "Zodiac"), a troubled and tatted man of few words. When the daughter of Hugh Jackman's Keller Dover goes missing, Loki, who has a track record of solving every case, embarks on a seemingly dead-end hunt.

While Gyllenhaal's roles never cease to be intriguing, the actor himself is a rather interesting guy, with endless relations to famous celebs and even a good heart (see his bar mitzvah fact below). From his weird experience with public urination to his first driving instructor (you'll never guess who), check out these facts about the young actor that you probably didn't know -- unless you're a true Gyllenhaalic, of course.

1. Gyllenhaal was born into a film industry family, with his director father Stephen Gyllenhaal, producer and screenwriter mother Naomi Foner, and his older actress sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal.

2. His extended family is also in the movie biz, as Paul Newman is his godfather (no big deal) and Jamie Lee Curtis is his godmother.

3. He received his first driving lesson from his godfather, Paul Newman. It's one thing to learn to drive from badass Paul Newman, but let's not forget the blue eyed actor was also a professional racecar driver.

4. He is the godfather of Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams's daughter Matilda Ledger.

5. Gyllenhaal celebrated his Bar Mitzvah somewhat atypically, spending it volunteering at a homeless shelter as a means of showing his appreciation for his privileged lifestyle. You definitely don't see that happening at your usual Bar Mitzvah party.

6. His parents insisted that he get summer jobs to support himself and he worked as a lifeguard and a restaurant busboy.

7. His first film role was playing Billy Crystal's son in the 1991 comedy "City Slickers."

8. He was awarded the 2002 London Evening Standard Theater Award for Outstanding Newcomer for his performance in "This is Our Youth" at the Garrick Theatre in London, England.

9. When he was young his parents didn't allow him to act in many films besides the ones his father directed because of the time he'd have to spend away from home. "Mighty Ducks" was one of the films they didn't let him appear in.

10. Gyllenhaal's first leading role was in "October Sky" when he was 19.

11. His favorite book is "To Kill a Mockingbird" and he has two dogs, Atticus and Boo, named after characters in the novel.

12. Along with Matt Damon, Gyllenhaal was the studio's first choice for the role of Jake Sully in "Avatar," but director James Cameron chose to cast the then unknown Sam Worthington in the lead instead.

13. Gyllenhall spent two years at Columbia University where one of his professors was Robert Thurman, Uma Thurman's father.

14. He auditioned for and was one of the top contenders for the role of Batman in 2005's "Batman Begins."

15. While working as a lifeguard. Gyllenhaal never had any life-saving incidents, but he did do a rather odd service once. After a swimmer was stung on the leg by a jellyfish, Gyllenhaal helped relieve the pain by urinating on the swimmer's leg (it's a myth whether this works or not). Regardless, we totally bet this mystery person shares this as their personal fun fact, or maybe as an opening line (why not?).

16. His fans refer to themselves as Gyllenhaalics.

17. He gave Kirsten Dunst, his on-and-off girlfriend till 2006, a gray and white kitten for her birthday. She named the cat Sophie.

18. Gyllenhaal recently responded to the gay rumors that have followed him since "Brokeback Mountain" on a new episode of "Inside the Actor's Studio," which airs Thursday, September 19. He politely denied the rumors.

19. Gyllenhaal went to elementary school with band members of Maroon 5.

20. Gyllenhaal was set to play Spiderman in 2004's "Spider-Man 2" after Tobey Maguire injured his back filming Seabiscuit. Gyllenhaal was preparing for the role, but Tobey recovered in time to return as the web slinger.

21. Like all Gyllenhaals on the male line, he is a Swedish nobleman by birthright and is listed in the Swedish Almanac of Nobility ("Sveriges Ridderskaps och Adels Kalender" in Swedish).

22. His uncle, Anders Gyllenhaal, was the former Sr. Vice President and Executive Editor of The Miami Herald and is now V.P. of news at the paper's parent company, McClatchy.

23. Gyllenhaal and his sister Maggie are the first siblings to both be nominated for Oscars in acting in the 21st century. He was nominated in 2006 for "Brokeback Mountain" and she was in 2010 for "Crazy Heart."

24. On the band Phantom Planet's album "The Guest," the lead singer Alex Greenwald listed Gyllenhaal in his thank yous. Greenwald appeared with Gyllenhaal in "Donnie Darko."

25. Gyllenhaal had a childhood crush on actress Martha Plimpton. He met her when she appeared in 1988's "Running on Empty," which was written by his mother Naomi.


Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis in