Why Jake Gyllenhaal Finally Took the Franchise Plunge

Gyllenhaal has long avoided major franchises, so why did he sign on for 'Spider-Man: Far From Home'?

Spider-Man: Far From Home Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Sony

We’ve already discussed the curious case of Jake Gyllenhaal, an A-lister famous for his decidedly unconventional career moves. After being tapped by Sony as a backup option for 2004’s Spider-Man 2 amid heated negotiations with Tobey Maguire, Gyllenhaal has largely steered clear of studio franchise filmmaking, give or take a Prince of Persia. Instead, he’s opted for less mainstream fare, gravitating toward critical darlings such as Brokeback Mountain and Zodiac while embracing his inner weirdo in fare like Nightcrawler and Okja. The result: He has become one of Hollywood’s finest and most versatile actors.

But now, at 38, Gyllenhaal is finally making the franchise plunge with his supporting role as Mysterio in this summer’s Spider-Man: Far From Home (who has the last laugh now, Maguire?!). So why the change?

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“He’s a great character,” the actor said while speaking with the Los Angeles Times. “It’s one of those things, people have asked me for a number of years, ‘You wanna do a movie like that? If you were asked to, would you?’ And my response has always been, particularly since being at Sundance, so many of the stories have always been, for many years since I’ve been coming here, character-driven. And that has always been my desire, is to find something in that space, that seems to match my skill and also my own honesty. And it just so happened that it does with that part, so I’m glad that people feel excited about it.”

Gyllenhaal has been a popular name bandied about in connection with a handful of franchise leads, including as a potential successor to Ben Affleck as DC’s Batman at one point. With Mysterio, a longtime Spidey villain in the comics who may be posing as a good guy in Far From Home, the star has apparently found the right mix of eccentricity and nuanced character development to recruit him into the world of blockbusters.

While we certainly hope Gyllenhaal doesn’t abandon his love for cinematic oddities, we definitely wouldn’t mind if he popped up in a few tentpoles every now and then.

Spider-Man: Far From Home swings into theaters (sorry) on July 5.

Why Jake Gyllenhaal Finally Took the Franchise Plunge