Jake Gyllenhaal Says It’s ‘Pretty Cool’ That Christopher Nolan Personally Called to Say He Lost Batman Role: It Motivated Me to ‘Just Keep Going’

Jake Gyllenhaal and Batman
Getty Images/Everett Collection

Jake Gyllenhaal recently opened up on “The Howard Stern Show” about what it was like losing two major roles during the final rounds of casting: Batman in Christopher Nolan‘s “Batman Begins” and Christian in Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge!” On the latter film, the audition process came down to Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger and Ewan McGregor. It’s here where Gyllenhaal first heard of Ledger, who would later become his co-star in “Brokeback Mountain.”

“What I felt was disappointment when I didn’t get it. Both Heath and I were disappointed,” Gyllenhaal said. “But that’s Ewan McGregor’s part. You learn to go, ‘There’s another one. I can try and go in and audition for another one. I’ll get something else.’ You keep that attitude.”

Gyllenhaal maintained that healthy mindset when he lost out on “Batman Begins” a few years after “Moulin Rouge!” fell through. David S. Goyer, who came up with the story for “Batman Begins” and co-wrote the script with Nolan, recently confirmed rumors that Gyllenhaal was his personal top pick to play Batman in Nolan’s trilogy. Christian Bale ultimately won the role.

“To [Nolan’s] credit and to Baz [Luhrmann’s] credit, both of those directors called me personally to tell me [I didn’t get the role],” Gyllenhaal said. “And they will tell you why. When you get that far, there’s a real legitimacy to you potentially getting something. It’s not like they’re going, ‘Oh, thanks so much.’ They are going, ‘I saw these aspects of you that I really wanted in the role and are wonderful, but in the end I ended up moving this way because it matches better with this person who is opposite you or would be opposite you. The color of their hair or their height, whatever it is!! There are all these non factors that really are the inexplicable stuff that if you start to pick away at it doesn’t work, it’s not healthy.”

“To me, I just go: ‘Look at how far you got! So just try and keeping going.’ That’s what I felt,” the actor continued. “I remember getting a call from Christopher Nolan and thinking, ‘I just got a call personally from Christopher Nolan. That’s pretty cool. I’ve gotten pretty far. I went from them going they aren’t sure [about me] to a call saying they’re really thinking about you for this movie. So okay, I should keep going. I should just keep going.”

Gyllenhaal was coming off the disaster movie “The Day After Tomorrow” when Nolan considered him for “Batman Begins.” Although he didn’t get to play the Caped Crusader, losing the role did open the door for him to take acclaimed films such as “Brokeback Mountain” and “Jarhead,” both of which opened the same year as Nolan’s comic book tentpole. Gyllenhaal recently told Screen Rant that he’d still be interested in playing Batman.

“Oh, man. That’s a classic [role]. It’s an honor,” Gyllenhaal answered. “Speaking of playing roles that other incredible actors have played in the past … When I think about it, I’m going to play Iago in ‘Othello’ with Denzel Washington, and I think about like the history of actors that have played that role throughout time, and I’m intimidated by that. So that’s the first level. That’s what I’m working on right now. But of course. It would be an honor always. Those types of things and those roles are classics.”

Watch Gyllenhaal’s appearance on “The Howard Stern Show” in the video below.

From Variety US