People like to watch larger than life characters: Jake Gyllenhaal

New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who earned accolades for portraying Louis “Lou” Bloom in the 2014 neo-noir thriller “Nightcrawler”, is now back on the silver screen in a macho avatar for the American sports drama “Southpaw”. He says audiences like watching larger than life characters in films.

“The trend of sports, action films should never end. These are evergreen genres. People like to watch larger than life characters on screen,” Gyllenhaal told IANS in an email interview from New York.

The 34-year-old actor, who reportedly lost 30 pounds for his role in “Nightcrawler”, had to bulk up to essay the role of Billy Hope – a boxing champion who is attempting to get his life back on track in “Southpaw”, and said “it was a major transformation”.

“Yes, it was a major transformation. I was required to bulk up, for which I had to undergo vigorous training and change my diet, add in a lot of proteins. But you also get to learn a skill and be taught by people who are experts.

“People who really want you to be good and aren’t just driven by the fact that they are there to teach you – but because their reputation is on the line and their name is on the movie and they want you to look like a real boxer… All of that motivates me and makes me really excited,” he added.

Giving insights into his rigorous fitness regime for getting in shape for the role, Gyllenhaal said he “embarked on a grueling six-hour-a-day gym routine”.

“I would do a lot of muscle training and 2000 sit-ups each day. I spent five months preparing physically and learning the sport of boxing and the techniques of boxing,” he added.

Actors are constantly pushed to the brink by roles that demand them to alter their physique, which often takes a toll on their physical and mental health. However, Gyllenhaal called his training experience for “Southpaw” to be “very humbling”.

“Training for something like that is very humbling. I realised quickly that I knew nothing. Of course, I assumed that maybe I would just come in and be a natural at it – but it doesn’t work that way,” he added.

The actor feels the film, which releases in India on Friday, will “appeal to a wide range of audience and we are hoping it works everywhere”.

Regarding his forthcoming projects, Gyllenhaal said: “My next film is ‘Everest’, a thriller directed by Baltasar Kormákur, and then ‘Demolition’, an American drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée.”

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