He’s been a Jarhead, a Nightcrawler, and a Southpaw, but it’s possible that Jake Gyllenhaal’s most underrated role happened way before he cut a six-pack. Believe it or not, today marks 15 years since the actor starred in the silly cult classic, Bubble Boy, and we couldn’t let the anniversary go by without a little film flashback.
The premise of the movie was as far-fetched as the title suggests, but Gyllenhaal brought a likability and charm to a role that would have fallen flat for practically anyone else. If you need a refresher, the star played Jimmy Livingston, an awkward but adorable guy who is essentially allergic to everything, forcing him to live life quarantined in, you guessed it, an actual bubble. But when the love of his life, Chloe, played by It Girl of the early aughts Marley Shelton, sets off to get married, Jimmy enters the real world for the first time to try to win her back and hilarity ensues.
Even though Bubble Boy didn’t get the same (or any) critical acclaim like Gyllenhaal’s most memorable movies (Brokeback Mountain, Prisoners), there’s something captivating about seeing him show off his lighthearted side onscreen, especially so early in his career. To celebrate the film’s anniversary and the first time we fell for Gyllenhaal’s goofy grin, we’re opening up the InStyle archives and looking back on our August 2001 feature with the then-20-year-old, where he told us all about his own firsts—first car, first crush, and even first kiss. Read on to hear what the actor (seen below with Shelton at the Bubble Boy's L.A. premiere) shared about those milestones and more.
“One summer on Martha’s Vineyard, I was a lifeguard from 9 to 5, then a bus boy and sous-chef from 5:30-12:30.”
“A 1990 maroon Volvo. I have a flair for the mundane.”
First Fashion Breakthrough
"When I was in seventh grade, I bought this really scary leather vest. I wore it, too."
"I love to see the back of a woman's neck or her collarbone. Those areas are very sexy. I'm not attracted to a woman who shows it all off, though. I like to know that if we were together in a relationship, I would be the only one who gets to share the intimacy. Clothes that show just enough are best."
"Be sloppy and goofy at first, and then segue into the dinner-and-a-movie thing. Do something active and original."
“I was at my friend’s birthday party at a bowling alley and this girl grabbed me, pulled me outside, pushed me up against a car, and stuck her tongue down my throat. I was in eighth grade.”