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PROVING YOU’RE NEVER TOO CUTE TO BE WEIRD

By DIANE BARONI
Executive Editor, Moviecrazed

When I talked to Jake Gyllenhaal for Interview Magazine in 2001, I was impressed by how endearingly unaffected he was. Even then, he had that certain whatever-it-is that spells stardom. --D.B.

Maybe it’s the eyes—brooding and intense. Maybe it’s the lanky, nervous body. Or maybe it’s the genes (his dad is a director, his mom’s a screenwriter, and his sister Maggie is one of the hottest young actresses around). Whatever it is, it’s working.

This month, Jake Gyllenhaal, best known for his role as the sensitive son in 1999’s "October Sky," breaks out with his first lead, playing the title character in the offbeat comedy "Bubble Boy." Upcoming is a starring turn in the quirky sci-fi thriller "Donnie Darko," a performance that dazzled this year’s Sundance audiences, even if the film itself did not. And still looking for distribution is the independent "The Good Girl," in which Gyllenhaal plays Jennifer Aniston’s delusional lover.

A self-professed "odd, wacky, weird kid" growing up, Gyllenhaal, 20, is playing the same kinds of characters. And that’s fine by him: "There should be more movies that say, ‘So you’re going through some abnormal shit? Hey, it’s just a part of growing up. Feeling like an oddball is OK.’"