Jake Gyllenhaal Had Anxiety Freak-Out, Forgot Lines on ‘Spider-Man’ Set: ‘MCU Acting Is Hard’

Gyllenhaal said acting in the MCU was "a whole different craft" than what he's used to doing.
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Spider-Man: Far From Home"
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Spider-Man: Far From Home"

Jake Gyllenhaal opened up to Howard Stern (via The Independent) this week on the difficulties of acting in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, describing it as “a whole different craft.” Gyllenhaal starred as Quentin Beck/Mysterio opposite Tom Holland in the 2019 summer tentpole “Spider Man: Far From Home.” The MCU entry grossed over $1 billion worldwide. Gyllenhaal said the script was always flexible while making the movie, with lines being substituted for better ones at any given moment.

“It’s hard, man. That acting is hard. All of it,” Gyllenhaal said. “That world is enormous. And I joined that world way into that run; a train that was already moving. Normally, I come in way early on and I get to figure it out.”

Acting in the MCU was such a dramatic change of pace for Gyllenhaal that it resulted in bouts of anxiety on set. Or as Gyllenhaal put it, “I was freaking out. It was a scene with [Samuel L] Jackson, Tom [Holland]…there were a number of actors in that scene. And I remember not being able to remember my lines. I was the wooden board. And they were like, ‘Whoa’.”

Gyllenhaal continued, “And I went up to Tom Holland and was like, ‘Dude, help me out’. He’s like, ‘It’s all good, man. Just relax’. It was like he was me in so many situations. And I finally did. I just put a lot of pressure on [myself] because I love that world. I had to walk up [to people on set] and be like, ‘Look man, I just came off Broadway doing a one-man show for an hour and a half onstage, so I got this. Please, believe me’.”

While rumors have persisted that Gyllenhaal could reprise his role of Mysterio in future MCU projects, neither the studio nor the actor has confirmed he’ll be back in the franchise. In the year after “Spider Man: Far From Home,” Gyllenhaal pivoted to producing with films such as “Relic,” “The Devil All the Time,” and “Joe Bell.” The actor had a voice role in “Spirit Untamed” earlier this year, but it’s his turn in “The Guilty” that marks Gyllenhaal’s live-action acting follow-up to the MCU. “The Guilty” is now streaming on Netflix.

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