Jake Gyllenhaal needs less affirmation as he gets older. The 34-year-old actor takes on one of his most gruelling jobs to date in upcoming movie Southpaw, in which he plays a boxer called Billy Hope.

Known for his method acting, Jake ran with the punches and shot one of his most brutal scenes fighting a professional right at the beginning. Quizzed on whether this was a risky move, the star shared his determination and bravery.

“Those things needed to be real. But you get hit many times by mistake as well. It would have been good for the character!” he told Empire magazine when asked what would have happened if he’d broken his nose. “I mean, he basically is broken the whole movie. You know, his face is pretty much a mess the whole time. So I would have been fine. I don’t like things to be too pre-planned. I mean, I know that sounds pretentious. But to me it’s about commitment.”

Other big movies under Jake’s belt include his breakthrough cult classic Donnie Darko and Brokeback Mountain, in which he starred opposite the late Heath Ledger. Both actors and director Ang Lee were praised for their work on the award-winning feature, with Jake appreciating being left to his own antics during filming. “I don’t need [direction]. I don’t always need someone to tell me or talk to me. And actually Ang was someone who I learned that from,” Jake explained of his performance methods. “I don’t need that sort of affirmation. And more and more as I feel I get older or grow up, I need that less.”