Jake Gyllenhaal has filmed a Rock the Vote commercial, serves on the board of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, and reportedly donates money each year to plant trees in a Mozambique forest. But lately, the actor’s biggest cause is championing women. On Friday, at a Cannes press conference for his latest film, OKJA, co-starring Tilda Swinton and Lily Collins, the actor announced to journalists: “I absolutely believe in the superiority of women. All the people I work with feel the same way, and they must, or else I don’t work with them.” Well, alright then.
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When it was pointed out to him that it’s equality, not necessarily superiority, that most women are going for, the actor still stood firm on his women-are-just-better statement. “Part of the reason why I adore Bong [Joon-Ho, OKJA‘s director],” he said, “is because he thinks of us [men] as less than.”
Gyllenhaal credits his mom and sister for really showing him the truth of gender disparity in Hollywood. “I’ve grown up in a family where both my sister and my mother constantly talked about it themselves,” he said. “Particularly my sister is very outspoken about the difficulties in terms of sexism in the business.” His sister, the actor Maggie Gyllenhaal, famously said during an interview with The Wrap in 2015 that as a 37-year-old, she’d been told she was “too old to play the lover of a man of a man who was 55.” His mom, Naomi Foner, is a writer, producer, and director who has spoken about her struggle for the opportunity to direct.
“Part of the reason why I adore Bong [Joon-Ho, OKJA’s director], is because he thinks of us [men] as less than.”
In part because of their experiences, Gyllenhaal said he is driven to strip away sexism in Hollywood. “Do I think I see enough female directors getting attention? No I don’t,” he said. “I think it’s no mystery to all of us that it’s pretty male-centric, that’s obvious.” But he’s trying to do something concrete about the situation, too. “I started a production company two years ago,” he said. “One of our biggest intentions is to make sure that women filmmakers, as well as stories about women, are made in equal parts to the stories about men.” Conviction, yes, but also a plan to affect change: Now that’s something we can really get behind.