Sounds Like Jake Gyllenhaal’s Road House Inspiration Was Keanu Reeves, But Not For The Reason You’d Think


Jake Gyllenhaal filled in some very big shoes remaking Patrick Swayze’s badass movie, Road House, for Amazon. To better prepare him for the role of UFC middleweight fighter-turned-bouncer, the Prisoners actor looked to John Wick’s Keanu Reeves for inspiration. But as Gyllenhaal has never been a stranger to fight scenes, he channeled the Canadian actor for an entirely different and unexpected reason.

When it comes to action sequences, Jake Gyllenhaal’s characters have kicked plenty of ass before. If you look back at Gyllenhaal’s best movies, he played the lead in Southpaw with many boxing match scenes, an LAPD officer working a gun in End of Watch and donning the Mysterio suit fighting Spider-Man in Far From Home. Despite his experiences throwing jabs and handling guns in movies, the Nightcrawler actor told THR that he still looked to Keanu Reeves as inspiration for his Road House role, but not for the action prep reasons you think:

To deliver a line that goes into a trailer, with the right gusto and belief, and even with the absurdity of it, it’s a mastery.

The Academy Award nominee is referring to Keanu Reeves starring with Patrick Swayze in Point Break about an undercover FBI agent investigating a group of surfers who are possibly bank robbers. Jake Gyllenhaal is apparently a true fan of the ‘90s action flick which he said he’s seen hundreds of times.

I can understand why the line delivery of Keanu Reeves inspired the Brokeback Mountain star. In the best action movies, you tend to see iconic yet ageless quotes of the characters saying a deliverable line into the camera before heading into action. In the Point Break trailer, for example, you hear Swayze say to the camera “Adios, amigos!” before skydiving out of a plane. It brings lightheartedness into a scary situation.

Another actor Jake Gyllenhaal was inspired by for Road House was Bruce Willis whose best movies of the action genre include the Die Hard series, the Red movies, The Fifth Element, and more. But, Gyllenhaal couldn’t help but notice the impressive line delivery in Willis’ best films either during closeup moments:

There’s that thing, the camera’s pushing in and I’m always like, ‘Oh wow, this is when you see Bruce Willis do the line, the thing. And now I’m doing the thing. Like, oh God.’

We all get chills hearing Bruce Willis saying “Welcome to the party, pal,” after shooting up Sergeant Powell’s car. Now in the Road House remake, Jake Gyllenhaal gets to be one of those action stars delivering liners before throwing punches. It’s one of the little things you can love about the Amazon movie in that the character of Elwood Dalton could just be simply taking care of business when he instead uses a somewhat goofy approach to handling things.

For example, one of those lines before Dalton knocks out a rowdy bar customer is, “Before we start, do you have insurance? Like, your coverage good? Do you have dental?” Comedy gold moments like these help make these action sequences all the more memorable and entertaining with a few chuckles to keep us engaged.

Action stars like Keanu Reeves and Bruce Willis helped Jake Gyllenhaal get into character for Road House, but not in terms of how to throw a punch. He looked to these two stars in how to handle closeups when delivering funny lines in between kickass moments. Gyllenhaal clearly found great sources of inspiration to pull that off. You can watch the American actor bust faces with humorous dialogue in Road House available on your Amazon Prime subscription.

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