Jake Gyllenhaal lost 20 pounds to play a struggling crime reporter in his new movie, "Nightcrawler," E! reported Oct. 22.
Gyllenhaal previously transformed his body for Jarhead (2005) and Prince of Persia (2010), so work-related weight loss and weight gain is nothing new for the dedicated 32-year-old actor.
While the physical transformation is what most people notice, he said embodying a character is largely a mental process — a sentiment echoed by his "Prisoners" co-star Hugh Jackman.
"I can only approach things from a mental place," said Jake. "I'm playing a character who's hungry, figuratively and literally, who's driven in ways to succeed at any cost. I wanted to get there mentally and then have it transform me physically, because I am not one to rely on science as much as I am on just sort of instinct."
While Gyllenhaal is extremely disciplined, he admits he loves to eat, so strict dieting is tough. "I’m obsessed with food," he told Australian GQ.
I love eating in general, but if I’m somewhere on location, I tend to find one restaurant and weirdly will eat one or two things that I love. Then I’ll know I’m going there at the end of the day to eat that thing. It’s like a strange catharsis to me. I don’t know what it does but it kind of breaks the boundaries of something that’s different to what my character would eat."
Most people resolve to work out more, but the 6-foot-tall Jake, who's normally a buff 180 pounds, is a self-professed workout addict who has made an effort to exercise less.
“I’ve had to teach myself to slow down a bit,” he said. “Because I get so into [working out], it becomes a real addiction."
Gyllenhaal feels the pressure to look good as a Hollywood leading man, but insists he works out for its meditative aspects, not just for vanity, or even the endorphin rush.
“I really just do it for myself,” he said. “It’s just an incredible thing to exercise, but for it to become like a meditative thing rather than just working out is amazing and that’s how it is for me.”
"Nightcrawler" comes out sometime in 2014.