Along with those horrible tiered ruffle skirts and awful Hollister henleys (probably), the latest aughts trend to re-emerge afresh is using Jake Gyllenhaal as a stand-in for real-life literary scammers who somehow became more interesting after news broke that they were lying Ps of S.
This began long before Jake was set to star in a miniseries based on the life of Woman in the Window author Daniel Mallory, who is accused of lying about everything from his mom’s cancer to his brother’s suicide in order to, among other things, get plenty of paid time off work to spiritually plagiarize literally every other book released in the past seven years with the word “Woman” in the title. The year was 2006, and Jake was set to play another “writer” whose main talents were being white, male, and lying, qualities the publishing industry traditionally looks for in a person they’re going to give a lot of money. Particularly, Gyllenhaal was a frontrunner to play James Frey in a film adaptation of A Million Little Pieces, back when the book was marketed as a non-fiction story about a privileged dude overcoming drug addiction and before it was commonly more commonly known as a novel written by a privileged dude imagining drug addiction, before realizing no one wanted to buy his bad novel and then rebranding the tome as a bad piece of non-fiction that publishers then fought each other to buy.
Jake’s new chance to play a literary scammer comes via filmmaker Janicza Bravo, who is also behind Zola, and this time, the Jake-to-scammer casting pipeline seems intentional, per Deadline:
“What may have started as my dog ate my homework turns into my mother died of cancers, my brother took his life and I have a double doctorate. Our protagonist is white, male and pathological. There is a void in him and he fills it by duping people. He’s a scammer. The series examines white identity and how we as an audience participate in making room for this behavior.”
Here are a few reasons Jake is the correct choice, just as he was these 15 long years ago:
- he’s white
- he’s male
- his performance in Nightcrawler
- sadboy eyes
- matching so trustworthy you can’t trust it jawline
- floppy young youth minister hair
- suspicious, omnipresent little gold chain
- tried to convince us that he was the Prince of Persia despite being merely descended from Swedish nobility and only halfway on his father’s side at that
- the fact that I sometimes worry he’s not over Reese Witherspoon and is still sad about their breakup even though he’s had literally every other advantage in life except not getting to marry Reese Witherspoon, which I truly suspect he genuinely wanted to do. Fuck, I think it’s possible that Jake Gyllenhaal emotionally scammed me 12 years ago, and I’m only just realizing it now. That’s how good he is.