Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal (/ˈdʒɪlənhɔːl/; born December 19, 1980) is an American actor. A member of the Gyllenhaal family and the son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner, Gyllenhaal began acting as a child with a screen debut in City Slickers (1991), followed by roles in A Dangerous Woman (1993) and Homegrown (1998). His breakthrough performance was as Homer Hickam in October Sky (1999) and he garnered an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Male Lead for playing the title character in the indie cult hit Donnie Darko (2001), in which he played a psychologically troubled teenager, alongside his older sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal. He subsequently appeared in another indie film, The Good Girl (2002) and the climate fiction-disaster film The Day After Tomorrow (2004), portraying a student caught in a cataclysmic climate event.
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