Jake Gyllenhaal, who premiered his new war thriller “The Covenant” this week, said he is drawn to stories about the military because of the “pride and love” that people who “defend our country” exhibit.
“At the beginning of my career, I played a Marine, a recruit, and I got to know a lot of people in the military and learned from them,” the “Jarhead” actor told The Associated Press. “And I think it changed my perspective on the world sort of just being around and touching that world a bit.”
In the film, which comes out on Friday, Gyllenhaal plays an Army Special Forces sergeant who is rescued by a local interpreter he recruited.
When Gyllenhaal’s character returns to the U.S. and “learns that [the interpreter] Ahmed and his family were not given safe passage to America as promised, he must repay his debt by returning to the war zone to retrieve them before the Taliban hunts them down first,” a synopsis of the Guy Ritchie-directed movie says.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Sgt. John Kinley in the Afghanistan war drama “The Covenant.” (Christopher Raphael / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.)
Jake Gyllenhaal said playing military roles has given him a different “perspective.” (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Gyllenhaal continued, “I have throughout my career played people who are ex-military, people who had a history in that, and I’ve learned so much from that group. And there’s so much pride and love – the people that defend our freedom – that I am drawn to that story.”
Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim, play a Special Forces sergeant and an Afghan interpreter in “The Covenant,” respectively. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
“The Day after Tomorrow” actor said he’s also interested in playing characters in “extreme circumstances because I think it brings out the humanity in people.”
“And there’s no better characters in extreme circumstances than a soldier, in particular, so that may be also why I’m drawn to it,” he said.
His godmother Jamie Lee Curtis, who was at the premiere as well, also spoke to People magazine about living next to Gyllenhaal and his girlfriend during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jake Gyllenhaal starred as a Marine recruit in 2005’s “Jarhead.” (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
“We’ve just gotten to know each other,” the “Everything Everywhere All at Once” Oscar-winner said. “He also lived with me during COVID for almost a year. He and Jeanne lived in the house next door that I have. And so there was also that. For a minute.”
Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim in “The Covenant.” (Christopher Raphael / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. )
Jake Gyllenhaal said playing military roles has given him a different “perspective.” (Christopher Raphael / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. )
She also told the magazine that she gave the movie star advice when he was just starting out in Hollywood.
Jamie Lee Curtis is Jake Gyllenhaal’s godmother. (Unique Nicole/WireImage)
“I sort of looked at him and said, ‘I’ve done this for a long time. You’re just starting. There may be things your parents don’t have the experience, strength and hope that I do. Please use that if you need to,'” she said.