Jake Gyllenhaal doesn’t mind when a director pushes him to do more with a character. The 34-year-old actor was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain and is a firm favourite among moviegoers and industry big wigs. While he may appear to be totally in charge of every performance, Jake actually enjoys being told how to play a part. ‘Well, that’s the job of a director. They should be the best manipulator in the world. I love the idea of playing, knowing you are being manipulated. Yeah, that’s the point. I love it,’ he smiled to Empire. ‘I’m looking for ideas. And a lot of the time, if you’ve thought it through so much, you’re looking for someone to come at it from a different angle. I appreciate things, because what I wanna do is give them something they never expected, even if that means them pushing me.’

Jake’s latest movie is Southpaw and he plays a boxer who has to deal with his life falling apart around his career. Olympus Has Fallen director Antoine Fuqua helms the film, and during production Jake hung out with real boxers. ‘A lot of people say that when you get into the ring, you need to be some sort of animal. And I think that’s probably true, though I feel that technique and the scene of things is really what’s at play, you know. But I don’t know how to boil it down to one thing or a few things,’ Jake said when asked what he learned from the fighters. ‘You just pick up the molecules of the environment you’re in, the people you’re with, the energy they have.’ Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker and Naomie Harris co-star.