Jake Gyllenhaal lost 30 lbs for “Nightcrawler” and ran 15 miles to set every day to the point that he hospitalized himself. For “Southpaw” he put back on the weight, turned half of it into pure lean muscle, and trained for six months working out six days a week. For “Everest,” the epic true story of the 1996 climbing tragedy upon which Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air” was based (Gyllenhaal plays Scott Fischer, the lead guide. You can google the rest?), the actor has pushed his limits yet again. In one scene where he has to suffer hypothermia, Gyllenhaal insisted on mimicking the reality of the snow in the cold to a near debilitating degree. “He almost lost his hearing,” director Baltasar Kormákur told Esquire earlier this year. “His inner ear was frozen. His nostril hairs were frozen. And he wasn’t even getting that well-paid!”
And apparently the super-committed Gyllenhaal even pushed his fellow actors to the point of major friction. “There were some hairy moments,” Kormákur relayed. “I thought, oh my God, how’s this going to go? Because if Jake feels an actor’s not giving him what he needs, if he feels they’re not really there, he’ll say so. And sometimes, he even says afterwards, ‘Sorry, I was an asshole.’ He’s aware of it, but would you rather be with a guy who’s always smiling and laughing, and never talks about anything serious? Or your friend is a bit challenging, who isn’t afraid to argue with you? I prefer people with more width, and this is part of his process. Acting is such a weird job, whatever you need to get there is fine with me. Jake needs to mess things up. Shake it up, dirty it up. It’s like he needs to get into trouble before he can figure it out for himself.”
Those that he vexed? Well, “Everest” is a big ensemble film that co-stars Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley and Emily Watson. In fact, of that principal cast, Gyllenhaal has the last billing, presumably because his part is the smallest.
“Everest” is set to open at the Venice Film Festival out of competition, and recently had its release date switched up a little bit. Universal Pictures’ drama can be seen early in IMAX 3D and premium-large format 3D screens on its originally scheduled date: September 18. It’s regular wide release in 2D and 3D formats will begin September 25. Watch the newest trailer for the film below.