Jake Gyllenhaal Suffered a ‘Gross’ Injury While Filming ‘Nightcrawler’

In ‘Nightcrawler’, Jake Gyllenhaal plays an obsessive sociopath to a tee

Jake Gyllenhaal has made a habit of playing maniacal and disturbed characters. One of his best performances in that vein came in the 2014 movie Nightcrawler. Getting inside the brain of such a unique person takes a lot of commitment, and Gyllenhaal was so driven in one scene that he hurt himself while filming. Risking your health in the name of art isn’t often necessary, but the final results of Nightcrawler speak for themselves. The movie is highly rated by critics and casual fans, mainly because of Gyllenhaal’s acting choices. 

In Nightcrawler, Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a petty thief who falls into the world of freelance videography (they’re referred to as “stringers”) when he discovers he can make a living selling footage of newsworthy incidents to local broadcasters. He is ambitious, driven, and completely lacking a moral compass. He’s perfect for the job. 

Gyllenhaal does everything he can to embody Lou’s consistently unnerving presence. In fact, the actor got so into the part that he ended up in a hospital. During one scene, Lou is reeling after losing out on a story to a competitor. He takes out his frustration and anger on a bathroom mirror, screaming and shaking it vigorously before slamming it so hard it shatters in his sink. The script did not call for that level of damage. The Donnie Darko star just performed with such intensity that he broke the mirror, and director Dan Gilroy decided to keep that moment in the movie. 

He hurt himself during filming and no one noticed

Gyllenhaal came away with a scar for his trouble, slicing his thumb on the glass so badly that he needed 40 stitches to close the wound. When speaking about the incident during an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, he seemed very relaxed about what happened. He spent most of their talk riffing about the whole thing and hoping that the production could get an insurance day out of it to save some money. (They could not.)

“People asked, ‘Where’d that mirror scene come from?’” Gyllenhaal shared. “And I’d say, “Well, we were doing that to every piece of dialogue and soliloquy. It’s just not all over the place.”

Nightcrawler was celebrated with a 95% rating on Rotten TomatoesSince then, Gyllenhaal has continued to portray more manic characters in films like Okja, Velvet Buzzsaw, or Ambulance. “I’m looking for wonderful characters and to be in a relationship with my director where I can try and kill it for him, to be totally honest,” the actor said. “I go to work and I can’t wait to say the words or do the thing or whatever it might be.”

Gyllenhaal went above and beyond for the drama

jake gyllenhaal nightcrawler
Actor Jake Gyllenhaal attends the “Nightcrawler” New York Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on October 27, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)

Gyllenhaal may have been nonplussed about his injury because he had already changed his body to fit Nightcrawler. To prepare for the role of Lou, Gyllenhaal lost 30 pounds (he did this by running 15 miles a day and exclusively eating kale salads and gum), went on late-night ride-alongs with real crime chasers in Los Angeles, and even went shopping for some of his wardrobe in the movie. “That hunger—that literal and figurative hunger—was a state that was really important for me to be in,” he said.

 RELATED: Jake Gyllenhaal’s Interest in Acting as a Child Was Born Out of ‘Being a Bit of Clown’
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