CULTURE

Jake Gyllenhaal Is Pivoting to "Absolutely Insane Person," and We Love to See It

With recent cameos in John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch and Saturday Night Live, Jake Gyllenhaal is going from playing "somewhat mentally ill main characters" to "total lunatics."

Since his breakthrough in the 1999's October Sky, Jake Gyllenhaal hasn't shied away from outré movie characters.

From portraying Donnie Darko's tormented title character to earning critical acclaim for his lead role in the queer masterpiece Brokeback Mountain, Gyllenhaal seems to enjoy pushing the envelope, although it's usually by way of dramatic films. However, I can't help but notice lately that Gyllenhaal has taken a liking to rather off-the-wall, comical roles. It appears that he might be rebranding himself as an absolutely insane person, and frankly, I love it.

Late last year, Gyllenhaal made an unexpected cameo in John Mulaney's child-focused Netflix special, John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch. The actor starred as Mr. Music, who tries using a Calypso-style tune to teach the cast of kids that you can find music anywhere (he fails miserably). Speaking on his decision to cast Gyllenhaal, Mulaney explained: "I'd seen him in Sunday in the Park with George, the musical, and I remember watching him and I was like, 'oh man, I'm never gonna be an actor. That guy thinks he's the person. Like, he's out of his mind.'"

Mulaney also mentioned having seen Gyllenhaal in Parasite director Bong Joon-Ho's 2017 film, Okja, portraying a hilariously deranged zoologist and TV personality. In both of these roles, Gyllenhaal is convincingly nuts. Is he OK in his real life? We're not so sure anymore. Do these characters make us a little uncomfortable sometimes? Kind of. But do we love it? Of course we do.

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Gyllenhaal and Mulaney had a brief Sack Lunch Bunch reunion on last weekend's episode of Saturday Night Live, wherein the latter portrayed a very confused kiosk cashier at LaGuardia Airport. Gyllenhaal, decked out in a matching pajama set, played a man who enjoys going through airport security a little too much, singing to the tune of "Defying Gravity" about being fondled by TSA agents. All the while, he's being suspended a few feet above the floor, because why not? He's Jake Gyllenhaal, and he's crazy.

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None of this has diminished my respect for Gyllenhaal, whom I still consider to be one of today's most talented actors. He's no stranger to playing mentally unstable characters, but his new foray into borderline deranged roles makes me, maybe, respect him even more. We're all a little insane, and if Gyllenhaal can make this hysteria work in his favor, so can you.

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