Jake Gyllenhaal to British people: ‘Can you please just tell me how you feel?’

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At some point, I just stopped caring about Jake Gyllenhaal? It wasn’t like I actively hated him or anything, I just stopped giving a sh-t. As I’m examining my indifference to him, I think it probably stems from too many years where Jake seemed to take himself too seriously, aka the Humorless Years. He leaned so hard into “struggle” dramas and then he only wanted to talk about the struggle during promotion, if he even promoted the films. Well, Jake covers the latest issue of Another Man Magazine, and Jake wants us to know that he’s transformed into a lighter dude who isn’t all about dark, dramatic “process” and actorly struggles. New branding or is this a legit transformation? I have no idea. But I enjoyed this bizarre interview more than I was expecting – you can read the full thing here. Some highlights:

His new lighter vibe: One moment he might mention how “there’s a preciousness that went away”. Another, he’ll detail how he’s been trying “to take some time, and moments, listen to my own feelings… All I can say to you is I feel so good where I am in my life. I was so unresolved in so many different ways, searching for things outside of myself, and when we last met I think that was what was happening. Now I’m sort of like: this is who I am, in a lot of ways. This is who I’m gonna be. I think I’ve hidden a lot. Like, ‘I’m gonna hide, and then I’ll create these characters and I’ll tinker in the corner with these ideas…’ I hid in my idea of what I thought an actor was supposed to be, what they’re supposed to do. And I’m kind of like: ‘F–k it, I’m not like that at all.’”

The change in him came after he did 2017’s Stronger: “…And I think in some ways, in the process of it, learning from Jeff, who I played in that movie, I went, ‘What am I doing? What am I pushing so hard for?’ You know? You can’t pretend these things, you know. You’re never going to play the actual experience. Someone said to me: ‘You’ve lost your imagination.’ And I think I realised that I’d sort of almost lost my imagination. And I went, ‘Well, what the f–k is acting…’ – or, ‘what the f–k is creation…’ – ‘… without imagination?’ And so I went, ‘Okay…’. Like: let’s have a little more fun here.”

Deciding to join Instagram: “I came to the conclusion that nobody cares about anything any more, so I should join Instagram. Maybe it’s all part of the same thing. Everybody was taking everything a bit too seriously. Maybe I was taking myself a bit too seriously. I’m actually not that serious. I can be, but I actually am a fool. And it’s a great place to be that. I have a whole group of people who are doing it who might know me and would be interested in getting a little picture every once in a while to see if I had something nonsensical to talk about. So, nobody really cares, you know? And also I just started to say to myself: ‘You’re gonna put your face on a poster for a movie that’s gonna be over the world in different cities on streets, and you’re not going to do a similar thing on this platform that gives you an opportunity to say potentially some interesting things… and potentially some very uninteresting things? Some funny stuff? And play around?’ I mean, look, it doesn’t always make me feel comfortable. But there are things about it that are fun.”

Spending a lot of time in Britain over the past decade: Gyllenhaal says he likes the British acting tradition and craft and shorter work days, and the dry sense of humour: “There’s just so many things I love. And I’ve also been very embraced there since I was really young. You know, the way my brain works, my mind works, I felt more embraced there than even here.” And what drives him crazy in Britain? “I think, in the end, how different we are. In the end sometimes I just say: can you please just tell me how you feel?” He goes on to complain about the lack of cooling systems or fans in the summer (“it’s just a suggestion”) and the way British people refuse to believe anyone else can make a decent cup of tea (“just not true”) and the prejudice that no Americans can do a passable British accent.

On manhood: “The idea of being a grown-up, of being a man was, at the time when we talked last, something I was searching for. I’ve spent many years trying to understand what that is. Like, movie after movie, life experience after life experience, going to certain extremes, to say, ‘Oh, is it in the physical world? Is a man who holds a gun…? Is a man who gets in a boxing ring…? Is a man who falls in love with another man?’ What is masculinity? And without knowing it, I think that’s what I was searching for.”

[From Another Man]

I looked up his age – he’s 39, he turns 40 in December of this year. This is very midlife-crisis-y, right? Maybe not a traditional midlife crisis, but so many people have this exact same kind of “what does it all mean” existential crisis around the age of 40. And part of Jake’s “transformational” thing is, I believe, that he just stopped giving a sh-t as he got older. Clearly, he still gives a sh-t about a lot, but your 30s are a journey, and that journey includes – for many people – the fact that you stop caring about appearances and “branding” and whatever. Just a comfort in your own skin, less anxiety about “what people will think.” So are we giving Jake room to grow? Meh.

Cover and IG courtesy of Another Man.

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86 Responses to “Jake Gyllenhaal to British people: ‘Can you please just tell me how you feel?’”

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  1. Aurora says:

    The only American who legit fooled me with their British accent was the actor who played Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was floored — and a little disappointed — to find out he was American.

    • Bauhaus_chic says:

      Me too!!!

    • Rapunzel says:

      James Marsters! He’s from my neck of the woods in CA. He’s fabulous.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Me too – I thought he was British. Any accent is really hard to do – am Scottish and cringe when I hear none Scottish actors attempting the accent. Saying that I was kinda impressed with Chris Pine’s accent in The Outlaw King.

      • Bella says:

        V good point because when Americans say “British accent” they nearly always mean “English accent”.

      • Nahema says:

        @Bella, you’re right! British could be any one of so many accents. It’s probably the same for a native speaker of anywhere though to hear someone try to imitate your accent. It’s usually quite cringy.

      • Yvette says:

        Chris Pine nailed the heck out of that Scottish accent in “Outlaw King.” :)

        The director (who is Scottish) sent all the actors, whether American, British, or Scottish, to a dialect coach because he wanted to make sure their Scottish accents were uniform. Many people commenting on movie Blogs after the film’s release said Pine managed a very good Edinburgh accent.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        @Yvette – Yes, Pine’s accent was very Edinburgh aka posh Scottish, LOL. It was as generic a Scottish accent as you can get but I can understand why they went that route as it was easiest on the actors.

        I was disappointed by Saoirse Ronan’s scottish accent in Mary, Queen of Scots – all I could hear was her Irish accent, she tried bless her but she was obviously defaulting to her natural Irish one. The Scottish and Irish accents to the rest of the world sound pretty much the same but they are different. Also, Mary was raised in France so she would have had a French accent but this is something that’s the source of debate with scholars, there is evidence suggesting she had some sort of Scottish lilt.

        @Bella and Nahema – i have long since accepted the fact that to most of the rest of the world British accent means English. I have on many occasion been mistaken for being Irish :(

    • Bella says:

      Agreed.
      Even Renee Zellweger and Gwyneth Paltrow didn’t quite cut it, though Zellweger was 95% there. It seems to be easier the other way around.
      For some reason Australians, the Irish and New Zealanders can do both English and American accents with ease.

      • Your cousin Vinny says:

        It’s because of the way all three cultures speak.

        Americans speak from the back of the mouth/throat (which is why they have more of a longer drawl and often, louder voices).

        British people speak from the tip of their tongue and almost push the words out so the vowels are much more clipped.

        Australians and New Zealanders speak from the middle of the mouth so it’s an easier transition to either move to the back of the mouth or the front of the mouth rather than having to transition all the way from one end to the other.

        As for why English actors seem able to adapt to American accents better than the other way around, it could just be growing up with the Hollywood machine being what it is, English people have more access to American accents through tv and film.

        I don’t think American audiences have quite the same level of access to English tv shows and films, at least not typically.

      • Chancey says:

        Oh, as a Londoner Renée fooled me!

      • Ellie says:

        As an Australian I’d say it’s actually heavily the way we are socialised. We grow up hearing thousands of English and American accents on television – being exposed to it so very frequently makes it easier to adopt. Same would go for Kiwis.

        For English people, other than Neighbours or Home & Away, they wouldn’t hear many Australian accents (other than all the bloody expats living there, but they affect an English accent pretty quickly). For Americans, when would you really ever hear Australian accents?? Other than fake ones hammed up for comedic effect in films (aka Kate McKinnon whose was so funny or Rebel Wilson etc).

      • A says:

        Actually I find that it’s very rare for a British actor to get an American accent right. The only one I’ve been impressed by is Idris Elba.

        I’m so tired of listening to off sounding accents….just let the character be British.

    • Charfromdarock says:

      I had no idea Spike wasn’t British!

      I’ve never watched a JG movie. The only thing I’ve seen him in is John Marney’s Sack Lunch Bunch and SNL and I loved him in both.

    • BW says:

      I remember reading an interview with James Marsters where he said his original Spike accent was copied from a roommate, but then his accent quickly morphed into Giles’ accent because he was around Tony Head on set so much.

      If you rewatch Buffy from the beginning, you can actually hear his accent change from one English accent to the other one.

      • Agirlandherdog says:

        I also remember reading an interview when he said he’d practice with Anthony Stewart Head on set.

    • BW says:

      I was totally fooled by Lady Mary’s posh English accent. The first time I heard Michelle Dockery with her natural English accent, I was floored.

      Also David Tennant’s English accent is very good. But I prefer his panting melting natural Scottish accent.

      I could never watch House, because Hugh Laurie sounds wrong to me with an American accent.

  2. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Omg. 🙄

  3. Jellybean says:

    Paltrow and Streep and Blanchett are good. Crowe and Hemsworth think they are good, but they are not. I actually rate Zellwegger, the way her accent became posher when she was trying to impress is actually not an uncommon affectation among people from the home counties. My accent actually wanders about and reflects all the regional influences in my life, the social or professional environment and how much I have had to drink. I think actors who are convincing focus on the character and relax, but don’t let any clangers get through. BTW, other nationalities can make tea, but not Americans.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      My international friends hate our tea! They’re from France, Scotland, Wales, Italy and Singapore. And each orders tea from home lmao.

      Regarding accents, because I was raised on the Mexican border, whenever I travel to Mexico, it surfaces fast lol. And, of course, in a restaurant. It’d be a sin to pronounce frijoles a la charra like a Texan lol.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        Apologies but American tea is just disgusting, am British and one of the best cups of tea I’ve had was in Egypt (it was black, strong and had a few leaves of mint in it – I don’t add milk). We Brits get our love of tea from the Chinese (there is a long history of trade there) and we then spread it around the world via the British Empire.

        Sadly we Brits can be snobby about our tea but few people understand that tea drinking actually originated in China although it has since become the national drink of the UK (and something we have become internationally well known for).

        If its any consolidation, some of the best coffee i’ve had has been in the US – you guys love your coffee and it shows.

      • Eleonor says:

        @Digital Unicorn: I am not a Tea fan at all.
        BUT the only ones I really appreciate are those made by Egyptians, or Syrian people. AMAZING.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Oh, oh. You had to go and mention tea! Thems fightin’ words!
      For the record: milky & warm is not ‘proper’! ;-)

    • Case says:

      I can never tell in Marvel movies if Chris Hemsworth is trying to be British like the rest of Thor’s family, or just saying YOLO and keeping his Australian accent. If he’s trying to be British, it’s not super convincing.

    • Deering24 says:

      Jellybean, American Southern iced tea is the nectar of the gods. And I’ll fight anyone who says different. 🙂😎

  4. Ninks says:

    As an Irish person, I absolutely agree with him about the British sense of superiority when it comes to tea because British tea is horrible.

    • GloryS says:

      Which British tea do you mean? Yorkshire Breakfast Tea, Typhoo, Tetley Earl Grey, Lady Grey, Ceylon, Assam, Darjeeling? Do we grow any of our own? And I certainly didn’t know we had a sense of superiority, just that it has been for a long time our tea of choice – not quite the same thing.

  5. Jerusha says:

    I am easily fooled the other way around. When I found out Linus Roche of L & O was British, or Damon Herriman who played Dewey Crowe on Justified was Australian, my jaw hit the floor. Plenty of other Brits, Aussies and sometimes Irish fool me, too.

    • Chickaletta says:

      I was absolutely jaw on the floor when I found out Linus Roache was putting on an accent for Law & Order, and Batman! Neither of the Wayne men were American.

  6. starcreactor says:

    what’s with the disdain for this guy here? sure he’s a bit serious but it’s probably because he likes acting (literally grew up in the industry) and thinks a lot about it. plenty of people I know are like this and are still wonderful people…unless he’s done something morally wrong that I’m not aware of?

    • ChillyWilly says:

      I don’t get it either…I think he’s adorable and a good actor.

    • Saartjie says:

      I wonder how much he was damaged by the Toothy Tile blind items from Ted Casablancas. I know it affected my perception of him, to some extent still does (which I should make more effort to consciously stop doing, because after all this time it seems highly unlikely any of it was true).

      • Meg says:

        I wouldn’t be surprised if hes bisexual. Obviously his business but i dont think his career would be negatively impacted if he came out at this point do u?

    • Jerusha says:

      But is it posters’ disdain or just the mods? He’s been good in everything I’ve seen him in and I’m fine with that.

    • Snazzy says:

      I’m a big fan too. Ya, he’s a bit pretentious, but honestly so many of these entertainers are. At least this guy can act.

    • Mina_Esq says:

      I can’t believe I’m about to type this, but here we are – I dislike him because of the whole Taylor Swift thing. Even when you add in a pound of salt to account for Taylor’s exaggeration, it sounded like he was a di*k to her.

      • virginfangirls says:

        But according to Taylor, nearly every bf was a jerk to her.

      • Meg says:

        I went to college with a girl like that-any boyfriend who dumped her was a jerk no matter how he treated her. She really thought she was above rejection and i think taylor does too

    • Kelly says:

      I think it’s like what happened with Anne Hathaway during her Oscar campaign. He comes across as that precious, self-important drama kid stereotype and his Oscar-thirst was really cringey.

      I don’t hate him, I just find him a little cringey. But he’s a good actor.

    • Amera says:

      I once read an interview where he said he prepares A LOT before he gets to set and once he’s there he sort of improvises. He then said that if the other actor he’s working with is doing something they planned at home, if they aren’t acting “natural”, he tries to screw them up otherwise it’s boring to him. He basically sabotages them. That REALLY turned me off! Who does he think he is? Just because someone has a different process doesn’t mean your better than them.

      • starcreactor says:

        hm, i mean, if it’s the Taylor Swift thing, i’d cut him some slack – we really don’t know what happened in their relationship and everything was told from TS’s pov. while i don’t doubt she was hurt, i don’t think that changed my perception of him too much? some relationships end badly, and even in her song she simply said he just stopped feeling for her which…..is a thing that happens even among married couples.

        i feel like he’s just very passionate – which gives off this serious, moody, oscar-thirsty vibe. there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious and wanting to be the top in a field/industry you grew up in or take very seriously. so many ppl gave Anne Hathaway shit for her ‘thirst’, but at the end of the day we all agree that she’s a decent person who hasn’t actually done anything bad? i think that’s the same for jake.

  7. ME says:

    I have to say he is a superb actor.

  8. ooshpick says:

    I give him some slack because he went from being an ok actor to a really good one. It seems like he worked on his craft. He also is so fricking beautiful he could easily just be lazy so there’s that. I really liked him in ‘velvet goldmine’ of late.

  9. Kamala says:

    I was impressed with Leo’s South African accent in The Blood Diamond.

    • Saartjie says:

      Yeah, as a South African, it wasn’t great, but it was better than most, lol

    • Leducduswaz says:

      South African here. Leo’s accent wasn’t that great. Thomas Jane did ok in Stander, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard an outsider get it 100%.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Leo’s Boston accent was so bad that they had to make up a really silly excuse for why his character didn’t have one in The Departed.

    • Isolte says:

      Hiya. Leo was supposed to be Zimbabwean in Blood Diamond. White Zimbabwean accents aren’t quite as ‘flat’ as South African accents, having more direct or recent influence from that country’s British colonial past. (No comment here on Colonialism!!! Just an interjection on the history of the accent!)

      • Leducduswaz says:

        But by that rationale, his accent is even worse, because he isn’t doing an English-speaking Rhodesian accent, he’s doing a non-regional Afrikaans accent, which is a legacy of Dutch colonialism, not British.

  10. Other Renee says:

    I’m always amused when I watch British tv shows where someone is trying to speak with an American accent. I’m thinking of my beloved Poirot mysteries for example. They completely overdo it, over enunciating every word. OTOH Hugh Laurie’s accent in “House” was superb. I was shocked to realize he is British.

    • Boxy Lady says:

      I remember watching Inspector Lewis and there was a British actress playing an American. The character was in the UK because her father was a diplomat from the US. The actress was doing really well until she referred to her father as Papa. Like the more posh Brits say it, “Puh-PAH” and I just died inside. I thought, “Ugh no! She was *so close*!” Lol

    • Winechampion says:

      Agreed—British actors are nowhere near as good at American accents as they seem to think they are. I can nearly always tell. They over-enunciate and flatten vowels to a silly exaggerated degree.

      • Deering24 says:

        Yeah, a fair number seem to think American accent automatically equals a “Texas” accent. ;)

      • North of Boston says:

        There’s also often a nasal tone and flatness to it that doesn’t hold up. That’s usually the first clue for me that the ‘American’ character is being played by a British actor.

    • BW says:

      Haha, I could never watch House, because Hugh Laurie just sounds wrong to me with an American accent. His accent was good, but the face needs his British accent.

  11. sPCollins says:

    I could never be mad at Jake after his Brokeback Mountain work. I watch it about once a year. Everything about it I love.

    • ravynrobyn says:

      @ SPCOLLINS-Jake’s work in Brokeback stuns me so many years later. I can never be mad at him! He definitely has a piece of my heart 💕

  12. emmy says:

    I guess he finally just leaned into the theater nerd he really is and doesn’t care about anything else? People also really pushed an image onto him and that probably messed with his head. I never liked the fact that he could be so moody in interviews. Whatever is going on with you, that’s still your job. Be a professional. I like this Jake and he’s just a ridiculously good actor.

  13. Natalee says:

    I’m sure he’s perfectly ready to settle down with his 24 year old girlfriend 🙄🙄🙄

    • Razzle says:

      @Natalee

      24 year old beard*

      fixed it for you.

      most of Swift’s boyfriends have been closeted (a few aren’t – like Joe Jonas, Calvin Harris, John Mayer, etc)

  14. Suz says:

    I just watched the Sondheim birthday tribute and had no idea he did Broadway or even sang?? I was like, good for you, Jake Gyllenhaal!

    • SPCollins says:

      !?Sondheim tribute?! Missed that but fixing it right now. Thx, SUZ!

    • Lady Baden-Baden says:

      I imagine the interview was supposed to promote his role in Sunday in the Park with George in the West End – the run was supposed to be over the summer. He initially did it as a limited run on Broadway a year or so ago and got raves. I had tickets to see him in London for August so am gutted it’s not going to happen – although they are trying to re-schedule for 2021. Fingers crossed!

  15. Audrey says:

    Didn’t read it, just came here to say he is hot in these pics!

    • L4frimaire says:

      I really like how he looks. Find him very physically attractive and like his acting work. As for him in real life, no idea so I’m shallow. But he looks really good naked.

  16. Sugar says:

    I’ve always been boggled by the fact that the British are so famous for their tea and yet make the worst tea I ever tasted.

    • Mara says:

      That’s sad to hear – I hope that was just a one off bad holiday experience? We have lots more tea and in many different varieties, I promise.

  17. Alex says:

    Aw come now. We’re never, ever just DONE figuring things out in life. No need to call it a mid life crisis when you’re just asking questions about who you are and what you want, or making changes in your life.

  18. Case says:

    Totally agree with him that England (and many European countries) need AC in the summer. As an American who is used to it, it’s brutal to go inside from the heat and get no relief. I spent a summer in London and got used to it, kind of, but it was still so uncomfortable sleeping with just the window open for a breeze.

    Jake just sounds like he has matured and learned to let some stuff go in the process. Seems like that happens to a lot of actors (and regular folks too) for the better, so good for him. I find a lot of male actors in particular a bit exhausting in their 20s/early 30s and they’re much more pleasant when they mellow out, lol.

    • A.Key says:

      AC is actually super unhealthy, and shifting between temperatures (by going from crazy hot 35 degrees outside to ridiculously cold 15 degrees inside) during summer can be pretty dangerous.

      • Caitiecait says:

        @A.Key air conditioning might not be the healthiest, but something like 30,000 people died in the European heatwave last year. With climate change only getting worse, a/c might be preferable to heat stroke or death.

      • Ange says:

        If you’re used to air conditioning you don’t keep your house that low. In Australia the recommendation is to have your air con at 24 degrees.

  19. A says:

    Lainey Gossip had a podcast about an interview she did with him where he just seemed to hate her and was being super difficult…

  20. Lua says:

    He’s hilarious in John mulaney and the lunchbox gang on Netflix

  21. A.Key says:

    I think he’s a good person and a great actor, his performance in Nightcrawler is probably one of the best things I’ve seen on film.
    Re: tea – I don’t really like anything other than tea from Japan, so there you go.

  22. Abby says:

    I didn’t realize that people don’t like him. I am a lifelong fan, starting with October Sky. Love him so much, and I think he’s a great actor.

  23. JC says:

    My god he is beautiful.. ::fans self::

  24. Ange says:

    I will say now I’ve never once seen a non-Australian do a decent version of our accent ever. Kate McKinnon’s was a good try but nowhere near it, even the actress from The Good Place everyone raved about wasn’t on the mark. I literally couldn’t understand what she was saying in some parts.

  25. The Recluse says:

    The way he has been popping up on SNL in little cameos definitely tells ya that he is taking himself less serious. He was on the Mulaney episode that aired before the shut down.

  26. Meg says:

    I remember a few years ago he was on ellen promoting a play he was in and the audience was pretty quiet until they put up a picture of him semi-shirtless from a film hed been in previously and the audience screamed. He said ‘really? You respond to that? Its actually a really good play.’
    I thought dude, its daytime tv the studio audience is people on vacation with their friends having fun off work not a Broadway play going audience necessarily. He didn’t seem to be aware of his audience at all