Jake Gyllenhaal Finds Next Edgy Thriller Role

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On the heels of a critically appraised turn in Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal has officially found his next big thriller role. The actor has reportedly signed on as the lead in the upcoming 1980s crime drama The Man Who Made It Snow.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Brett Tabor, the movie will chronicle the real-life story of Max Mermelstein, purportedly the only American to be part of “the inner circle of the Colombian cartels in the go-go 1980s.” Gyllenhaal will play the title role in the film, as well as co-produce alongside Fuqua and Tabor. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Tabor adapted the screenplay from Mermelstein’s 1990 autobiography of the same name, which he bought the rights to several years ago. IM Global is also financing and co-producing the film.

The biopic marks only the latest of Gyllenhaal’s projects to bring an unnervingly real experience to life. The actor seems to be carving out for a niche for himself as of late by taking on roles in edgy thrillers at least partially inspired by true, heart-pounding stories. Though Nightcrawler isn’t directly based on a true story, the film (currently out in theaters) is clearly a denouncement of the state of local and national news today.

Plus, Gyllenhaal’s character, Lou Bloom, in particular seems to be a big-screen reflection of real journalists who have gone to extreme lengths to be the first on a story. The actor’s impressive performance in the part is already garnering critical acclaim and has even begun spurring Oscar buzz.

Southpaw, Gyllenhaal’s next project to hit the big screen, also continues his recent career trend of intriguing dramatic roles that are partly based on true stories. The upcoming sports drama film marks another collaboration with Fuqua and stars the actor as Billy Hope, a world champion boxer who hits rock bottom and has to struggle to get his life back on track.

The movie, which began development in 2010, was inspired by the real-life struggles of rapper Eminem, who was originally meant to take on the lead role. Screenwriter Kurt Sutter previously confirmed the boxing genre was meant as a metaphor for someone whose entire life has been like a fighting match.

Now, Gyllenhaal is set to once again help bring a thrilling, real-life story to the big screen in The Man Who Made It Snow. With Nightcrawler already making such a splash and Southpaw likely to generate equally big buzz after its debut in 2015, the actor had the challenge of finding another titillating role to follow those up with. It seems like he made a good choice, as there’s no shortage of dramatic material in Mermelstein’s story.

The Jewish drug smuggler acted as the only point person in the states for the Medellin cartel before eventually getting arrested and becoming a crucial informant and witness for the U.S. government. He spent his last years living in the Witness Protection Program before dying in 2008. According to THR, Man Who Made It Snow screenwriter Tabor actually gave Mermelstein’s eulogy after spending years tracking down the man and learning his story.

Given Tabor’s long personal history with the story and how well-practiced Gyllenhal now is at dark suspense dramas, The Man Who Made It Snow could potentially become another critically acclaimed performance for the actor. IM Global will be will be selling international rights to the movie at this week’s AFM and the movie will reportedly begin filming in late 2015.

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