‘Southpaw’ Subs in Jake Gyllenhaal for Eminem, and We Sub in Eminem for Every Other Jake Gyllenhaal Movie

Jake GyllenhaalLionsgate via Everett Collection

Jake Gyllenhaal has just taken on the lead in Southpaw, a boxing film previously set to star Eminem, whose latest album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 will be released soon. The film is a dark look into the life of a man who may be a sucessful boxer but struggles to connect with his young daughter and be there for his family. Gyllenhaal, successfully mounting a resurgence with the small but well-recieved End of Watch and Prisoners, is known for his thoughtful performances, even earning an Oscar nomination for Brokeback Mountain, while Eminem hasn’t done a whole lot of acting since his auto-biopic 8 Mile came out 11 years ago. But the rapper and respected actor aren’t as different as it might seem. In fact, some of Gyllenhaal’s most famous roles could easily be taken on by Eminem. All you have to do is look at his lyrics.

October Sky
A nerdy science whiz has the power to change his entire coal mining town:
“Ayo, my pen and paper cause a chain reaction/To get your brain relaxing, a zany acting maniac in action/A brainiac in fact son, you mainly lack attraction”

Here you can see the frustation of a newspaper columnist as he struggles to puzzle out the Zodiac killer’s crimes as they keep happening under the police’s noses:
“A bloodstain is orange after you wash it three or four times/in a tub but that’s normal ain’t it Norman?/Serial killer hiding murder material/in a cereal box on top of your stereo”

Brokeback Mountain
A cowboy can’t bear to deny that he’s gay any longer:
“I got some skeletons in my closet/And I don’t know if no one knows it/So before they thrown me inside my coffin and close it/I’mma expose it”

Donnie Darko
You can see the emotionally troubled Donnie thinking these very rhymes:
“Cause my split personality is having an identity crisis/I’m Dr. Hyde and Mr. Jekyll, disrespectful/Hearing voices in my head while these whispers echo.”

The Day After Tomorrow
It sure gets cold fast in this enviornmental horror film:
“Nobody knows me I’m cold/Walk down this road all alone/It’s no one’s fault but my own/It’s the path I’ve chosen to go/Frozen as snow I show no emotion whatsoever.”

Love and Other Drugs
This sales rep discovers the monetary power of selling Viagra:
“What an ensemble, what an assortment of pharmaceuticals/This beautiful pill dust in my palm/Cuticles get residue just from touching the bottle”

Bubble Boy
Eminem really gets into the mind of the kid whose immune system is too weak to survive outside of a plastic bubble:
“Brain damage, ever since the day I was born/Drugs is what they used to say I was on/They say I never knew which way I was goin/But everywhere I go they keep playin my song”
(Bonus: “It’s like the boy in the bubble, who never could adapt, I’m trapped.”)

Prince of Persia
And, a brief step out of character and into Gynllenhaal’s actual mind that might help to explain this terrible movie:

“There is too much too lose […]/I just want to be famous/But, be careful what you wish for”