Jake Gyllenhaal Opens Up About Being Legally Blind And Reveals How It's Helped His Career

By maks in Showbiz On 8th June 2024

Jake Gyllenhaal recently opened up about his visual impairment, revealing how it has played a surprisingly positive role in his acting career.

The star, renowned for his performance in "Nightcrawler," was born with a lazy eye, which eventually corrected itself over time.

However, since he was around six years old, he has been dependent on intensive corrective lenses.

Even with these corrective measures, he remains legally blind.

Jake Gyllenhaal has opened up about being legally blind. Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Interestingly, Gyllenhaal admitted that there are times on movie sets when he chooses to remove his lenses, especially if he's about to tackle a particularly tough scene.

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He shared his unique perspective in a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, where he characterized his visual challenges as an asset to his acting career.

He elaborated on this by saying: "I've never known anything else. When I can't see in the morning, before I put on my glasses, it's a place where I can be with myself."

In the 2015 film "Southpaw," where he starred alongside Forest Whitaker and Beau Knapp, Gyllenhaal employed a specific technique to enhance his performance.

For a critical scene in which his character learns of his wife's death, he removed his contacts.

He revealed he removed his contacts during an emotional scene in Southpaw Weinstein Company

He did this in order to 'listen more closely,' emphasizing his auditory senses over visual cues.

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This approach to managing his disability isn't new information.

Gyllenhaal had previously discussed the issue in 2017 with The Telegraph, where he described how his corrective glasses made him an 'easy target' for childhood bullies.

Reflecting on his childhood, he noted, "I was always a sensitive kid," and shared how the bullying often resulted in physical confrontations on the playground.

One aspect of his career that has piqued public curiosity is whether Gyllenhaal removed his contacts during the filming of intimate scenes with Jennifer Aniston in the 2002 romantic comedy "The Good Girl." 

In the film, Aniston played Justine Last, while Gyllenhaal portrayed the character Holden Worther.

Years after the movie's release, Gyllenhaal reminisced about what it was like to film those intimate scenes with Aniston, particularly since he had harbored a longstanding crush on her.

In an interview with Howard Stern on his radio show, Stern asked him if it was 'torture' filming those scenes given his feelings.

Gyllenhaal candidly responded, "Oh yeah, it was torture, yes it was. But it was also not torture. I mean, come on, it was like a mix of both."

Stern, delving deeper, asked: 

The actor feels it's been 'advantageous' for his career. Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty Images

"Did you say to Jennifer Aniston, 'Listen Jennifer, I'm not trying to be rude here, if you're feeling something - protrusion or whatever - I can't control this?'"

Finding humor in Stern's choice of words, Gyllenhaal affirmed:

"Yes, I said it just like that."