Jake Gyllenhaal reveals how being legally blind has improved his acting

Jake Gyllenhaal reveals how being legally blind has improved his acting

Jake Gyllenhaal has opened up about how living with a visual impairment has enhanced his skills as an actor.

The Nightcrawler star, 43, was born with a lazy eye that naturally resolved and has been wearing intensive corrective lenses since he was 6 years old. He is still legally blind.

Gyllenhaal revealed he sometimes intentionally removes his lenses on film sets if he has to shoot a particularly difficult scene.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Gyllenhaal admitted he likes to think of his visual impairment as “advantageous” when it comes to his career.

“I’ve never known anything else,” he said of his 20/1250 vision. “When I can’t see in the morning, before I put on my glasses, it’s a place where I can be with myself.”

In 2015, Gyllenhaal starred alongside Forest Whitaker and  Beau Knapp in the boxing film Southpaw. To shoot a scene where a police officer tells his character his wife has died, the actor admitted he removed his contacts so he could “listen more closely”.

The Road House star previously told The Telegraph his corrective glasses had made him an “easy target” for bullies when he was a child. “I was always a sensitive kid,” he said, admitting he would get into fights in the playground over the unwanted attention.

Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Road House’ (Amazon MGM Studios)
Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Road House’ (Amazon MGM Studios)

It comes after Gyllenhaal recently revealed he had developed a staph infection after incurring an on-set injury while filming a fight scene for Road House.

Gyllenhaal starred opposite professional Irish fighter Conor McGregor in director Doug Liman’s remake of the 1989 cult classic, which starred Patrick Swayze.

“We’re fighting on the floor, fighting around tables, we’re fighting around glass,” the Donnie Darko actor said, remembering that he then “put my hand on the bar” and placed it onto “f***ing straight glass”.

“I felt the glass going in my hand. I remember the feeling [and] went, ‘That’s a lot of glass,’” Gyllenhaal said.

He added that while similar injuries like that happened “all the time” on set, his ended up being more serious than he initially thought. “My whole arm swelled up, and it ended up being staph.”

Oftentimes, staph infections are caused by bacteria commonly found on the skin. If left untreated, it can turn deadly as the bacteria can invade deeper into the body’s bloodstream, joints, bones, lungs or heart, according to Mayo Clinic.

“Gratefully, I was really, really trying to take care of everything that we did and my body while we were doing it. I didn’t sustain any major injuries,” the Nightcrawler actor said.