From the introverted and eccentric art critic Mort Vandewalt, to the extroverted and clumsy Jimmy Livingston, Jake Gyllenhaal has made a career out of playing some of the most eccentric and complex characters to ever hit the big screen. With his upcoming entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe now seems like the perfect time to take a closer look at some of his most iconic roles. Let’s see if we can get a better idea of how Gyllenhaal is playing certain characters and possibly recognize some of the similarities between them using the Myers-Briggs® Type Index.
While his good looks may help him out a bit with his job as a pharmaceutical rep, his most valuable asset is actually his tongue. Jamie Randall is the kind of person who can talk his way into any meeting, land any doctor for his company, and he always, always, gets the girl. Despite this fact, however, love was never really something Jamie spent too much time thinking about. When he finds it though, it’s something he has a very hard time letting go of. ENTP can be very focused on a goal or an outcome and they can be hard to talk down once they’ve decided on something. So, if someone like Jaime decides to start medical school in or to cure Parkinson’s, it’s better to just let them have at.
Compared to his doppelganger, Anthony (an ESTJ), Adam is rather submissive and tends to go with the flow of things rather than spend his time plotting as Anthony can often be found doing. Adam is rather sensitive and shy and he feels the weight of his actions throughout the film by how they affect those around him. While his counterpart is more focus on the steps he needs to take to get the things he wants, Adam never really has any solid plan. He drifts around feeling and experiences what going on in his life, but he’s rarely focused on where it leads or how it might end.
Throughout the course of the film, fans watch as Donnie slips further and further into madness, or perhaps, something much different. Donnie isn’t afraid of asking the tough questions, but even more than that, he’s unafraid of seeking out the tough answers. He is introverted, yes, but he is aware. Donnie, as we see when he publicly denounces Jim Cunningham (the motivational speaker at his school), is unwilling to silently abide by the affront of Cunningham's ridiculous teachings. While the universe around him is collapsing, the suburbs around him corroding, and his friends and family in danger, Donnie is person perceptive and dedicated enough to expose the truth. He sees the big picture and understands the sometimes in order to create something wonderful, sometimes self-sacrifice and destruction are necessary.
Despite having lived the entirety of his life inside the bubble of his home, or perhaps because of it, Jimmy Livingston is an incredibly extroverted person. As he makes his way out into the world for the very first time, it seems almost impossible for strangers to resist helping the lovelorn young man. Jimmy is the kind of person who willingly puts his life at risk in order to follow his heart. It’s a good thing that he’s so uniquely charismatic and willing to go wherever the universe takes him, because it’s exactly that attitude that gets the ENFP exactly where they need to go.
With the very real possibility that The Day After Tomorrow is about to become more of a prophecy than a work of fiction, looking back, there are many things that Gyllenhaal’s character, Sam Hall, can teach anyone looking to survive the upcoming climate apocalypse.
While many of the others around him are losing their cool, starting to panic, Sam is level-headed, taking in his surroundings. Learning what he can about the radical shift in his surroundings. While Sam is often the one coming up with the plans as things go from bad to worse, it is his ability to improvise within these situations and get his friends out of them that is truly impressive.
Throughout the course of Brokeback Mountain Jack is often the more open to the idea of an actual relationship with Ennis. While Ennis often remains closed off or aggressive when the idea of living an open life together is brought up, Jack is always looking to find a way to live a more honest and open life with the man he loves. Jack is willing to follow his heart and is extroverted enough to express these desires even though it may be detrimental to his health. While this willingness to express his feelings and desires is what ultimate costs Jack his life, it is these same traits that still carry Ennis’ affections as the film comes to a close.
While Swofford is originally excited for the adventure and action that life as a Marine might bring him, very quickly he realizes that the reality of the situation is far worse than he could’ve imagined. As viewers see very early on, Swofford is not only intelligent, but talented. He takes to his sniper training very easily and quickly begins to stand out amongst his peers. The rigid structure of military life, however, is Swofford's natural enemy as he is a much more easy-going and carefree person. Or at least he was before his time in the Marines. Swofford may have made an excellent sniper, but there’s just as much opportunity out there for him to do any number of things.
From the very first time audiences are introduced to Louis “Lou” Bloom, it is clear to see that Lou is not like other people. Lou is incredibly introverted, thoughtful, and logical. While he may not have the best people skills and often gives off a slightly unsettling vibe, it is usually due to the fact that Lou’s mind is off working on other problems.
When he sees an opportunity, in the form of a freelance cameraman taping the carnage and mayhem that paint Los Angeles streets any given night, Lou dives head first into his new project, with great success. However, one of Lou’s key flaws is that while he is very capable of managing his goals and aspirations, his interpersonal relationships could definitely use some work.
Another ISTP on our list, Billy Hope, the center of Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw, is another one of Gyllenhaal's more troubled characters. While Hope has no problems with celebrating, and expressing himself when everything is going his way, it is only when he loses his wife in an accident and child to child protective services that the audience, and Hope himself, see what he’s made of. Billy is introverted, preferring to keep to himself and focus on developing his craft. In this case, boxing. Like many professional boxers, Billy is aware that a smart boxer fights with his mind first then his body. While Billy thrives in the rigid structure of a training schedule it is in the ring, where chaos reigns, that Billy is truly at home.
Despite being constantly surrounded by people, Mort Vandewalt’s introverted and analytical nature is easy to identify. Rather than creating pieces of art himself, Morf has focused more on the analysis of fine art. Clearly a fan of the arts, but unable to create works of his own, Morf travels the art world looking for the next great artist, the next great piece, someone, anyone (besides himself) with something to say. Morf, like many INTPs, spends a lot of his time analyzing and over-analyzing not only pieces of art, but everyday interactions, past events, and obsessing over what comes next. Sometimes, however, it’s better for the INTP to stop and take a step outside themselves so to better enjoy the world full of vibrant art around them.