The Nocturnal Animals actor, 36, is covering a lot of ground. He’s currently starring—and singing!—in his first Broadway musical, Sunday in the Park With
George, about painter Georges Seurat. And he’s about to blast off as astronaut David Jordan in Life, a sci-fi thriller about a crew that discovers extraterrestrial life on Mars. Life opens in theaters March 24. What about Life and David Jordan captured your interest? He had been defeated by things on Earth and thought escaping into space was going to solve some issues for him. [But] he’s in this small, zero-gravity space, floating around and not really “living” until [the discovery], and he’s forced to.
Do you believe there’s life on other planets? I’ve always had a connection to the idea that there is something bigger than all of us. I feel it is inevitable that at some point we’ll find that there’s life on other planets. What kind of life has yet to be discovered, but I believe it. How comfortable are you singing in your first Broadway musical? I am entering—like astronauts do— a world that is not really truly my own. But somehow it does feel like home to me. I do love it onstage and I do love to sing. I’ve been singing my whole life. It’s just something I’ve never shared. Now I am. What’s harder, getting into physical shape, like you did for the boxing movie Southpaw, or getting the emotional aspect of a role? You can lose weight or put on muscle. You can transform the physical parts of yourself to look a certain way. But I think, inevitably, it’s what you feel from the heart that matters more than anything.
Will he work again with his sister, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal? Go to Parade.com/jake to find out.