Jake Gyllenhaal's Breakout Role

'Nightcrawler' star talks about his dramatic transformation in new psychological thriller on 'Popcorn with Peter Travers.'
11:03 | 11/21/14

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Transcript for Jake Gyllenhaal's Breakout Role
Find our viewers are more interested in urban crime. Creeping into the suburbs and sent me this isn't victim. Victims preferably when I lost right. Injected him to the floor or minority. No accidents planes cars buses trains planes fired a slightly. Well graphic. The best and clearest ways that I can phase it to you live to capture the spirit of what we Aaron. Kids think of our newscast just screaming woman running down the street with her throat cut. I understand. Hi everybody I'm Peter Travers and welcome to popcorn where we tell you what is happening at the movies and there isn't happening right now called night crawler. And it stars Jake Gyllenhaal and what I think is one of his very best performances. He's not playing somebody that you love and want to take home but he's playing somebody you've got to pay attention to so it's my pleasure to welcome. Not only yen Academy Award nominated actor but a Swedish nobleman who I think you get into that. But no other show on television with the idea introductions like that Beasley. Noble the sump well the name is noble I don't know I don't know what I am you don't and pride myself on not being very critical. A terrible thing this certainly blue balloon is no. Milk well what he does have standards he does it mean I would tell us who we. Lou bloom and at first is a petty thief so in that way he's not very noble. But he's a guy who basically lives that night and you know gets a lot of his work done you know. A case stealing things done it night. And then at red being movie he runs across Jackson's team is trying to freeway. And he gets out he's fascinated by it and sure enough. Seconds later two guys hop out of hand with cameras they start filming it watches them fascinated. Anyway. Speed film. And he asks them what they found an exit for the local signal when news. And he's he decides he's gonna buy cam corder plea scanner and start doing the same thing himself and so begins this. Serve crazy journey and we called a success story. How this guy who drove becoming the ultimate entrepreneur that's that's what he's like the Horatio Alger Fords aren't they yes it's just. He's become this. Success. In what's an incredibly immoral world. Is that redundant at this point maybe I don't know what it is I don't know how cynical you become I hope not is so not that cynical but I would say that he. The way in which he is. He's single minded he's incredibly ambitious ruthless and then eventually amoral. But all of his ideals and the way he speaks are based on you know corporate talk him. He announced that Tony Robbins self help. You know soliloquy use and it's all the things he all the things he says I think cars furnace that things he does that are immoral. Sometimes in the the beginning of Smartphones and video and being agreements hands they just wanted to get in there to the gore to whatever west loop. This is a kind of an artist he he's moving those bodies sometimes he wants the right light. It's not to see the going to laugh I nobody. Yeah I'm the united that's how I approached it in from the people often say was he. Is he a sociopath this does he have some form of autism and I think that. Qualifying him in that way takes the onus off you know off of us creating him but I think also makes them less interesting in that. I looked at him subjective we like and artists like the birth of cinematographer. And that him looking at these crime scenes as like Damien Hurst designing a new sculpture and you know it is this sort of like. Oh well I mean I mean people need to see how what this isn't. And sought mean inevitably and I can see that the lights not shining on that dead bodies so I have to. It's in the dark I mean I need to pull that body and the lights I can get this beautiful shot and people see. You know and that's how I I played it you know and the excitement of the discovery. Of this of them deserted. Beauty. I guess you could say and media and are way that a beauty of disaster. If I asked you not what you thought were the three best performances you've kept. But the three performances you've given that you learned something new about maybe that's a better way to ask it. What would come to your mind drove away and number one I would say. You know we're from David Fincher and zodiac you know he's disciplined his intensity and focus. I have plagiarized you know sense and they've been a huge inspiration to me to try and make a great movie it has to be great ambition. And a singular vision. And a deep respect for the director's vision. And to service that vision as an actor which means full commitment to the role that your plane. And the relationship with him or her. That is intimate in a way that you are completely devoted to their material and and to trying to go beyond their expectations the Tennessee. And well I was the end of watch as a huge run because. I learned that preparation is everything in his key you know that freedom is on the other side of discipline that a lot of times you know we talk about how. In the movie industry you earned time you know that's a student director earns what success the director Ernst time. Mike Newell came up to me once and he said to me you know Jay quarter but it director looks at more than the monitor his his watch. What you try and do a savior director time. And not end of watch we had very little time. And so what Michael Kenyon I knew it was leaning need to be able he had down enough that we can deliver freedom. Of our best takes as the first three takes if that we only have three. And I just works with Chris Cooper on this movie was John Mark Phelan just wrapped a movie. Tyler from Chris early as piece of advice he gave me we did a movie called October sky. When I was seventeen years old. I asked him point blank for advice do you have any bison and said. Yes is don't have any regrets leaving the scene. I've since found that absolutely impossible but I worked him again. And watching him work as an actor. It gives me faith that. You know this is a job that. You can just continually learn from that is never ending and is an impossible craft to look. And to master. It didn't mention two movies one Brokeback Mountain where you have your Academy Award nomination you know and and a major part of your career. And the other to meet Donnie dark and those characters in your head. Where did they go I always think with actors that there has to be some degree of schizophrenia. Yes. You know that you played them with such intensity of the bloom is that kind of tractor the Brokeback characters that I need to Argo is that kind of character we think yeah. How do you manage to keep the memory of them and not what haunts you. Well I think that you make movies given certain times in your life. You know you wouldn't choose to do I couldn't do a movie like time Darko now. That was a movie about my adolescence and moving into adulthood and sort of hallucinatory nature of that you know that. The world just the ground is not solid that anybody could be anything and that's what it was about for me aside and look back on that like I look back on myself at that time. And the same thing with Brokeback Mountain I think I if I look back on performances are experience that had. They are. All lessons from bleeding to be where I am now but I still have for instance on broker mound friendships that will last my lifetime you know I. Michelle Williams is still one of my closest friends your godfather to her. Until this doctor yeah I mean that were those relationships True Blue real life relationships and Lehman's bond from that so when I look at. Those things. That's what I take from them yes to remake a movie am extraordinarily proud of them is in my opinion like one of Ang Lee's best films and he is a master. Yes. Really the most important thing that comes out of that for me besides the fact that I feel like that really wanted. Sort of start discussion or. Change things and away and I gave me faith that movies can be. The lack of Edward important and that's. It really we came and a very human you know my life and relationships and I cherish. It is a good thing which is the good way for me did too and in as they always do don't know yet don't think that. Yes Jake was here before with Hugh Jackman and was terrified to sing in his presence. But he's not here might be outside I don't know that I would be like you to have an outside what you would call what would be it would be good. He's heater unit rehearsing his way yeah which is amazing and so he's with it it's all happening but. This idea of song. There was one time I was talking to your almost new. Yes it did to me some kind of song. That means that you can go to hell or something not positive. Light but. I'm only asking for something that's a part. Your head neck. Well what about what would you like obviously you want some pieces of Jamie realized that I I got really shut them from taking requests us here. I remember the songs completely. Will never happen. When you know like I got a horse right whose name is Paul Revere is not it's not to him yes. And a man that's as if the weather is they use can do. Came to. This post says the main and do some anonymous source can do something like that it's very good they go that's it that's it that's all I got for you it's actually the second time within a month that you guys know that dies down you know and on the due for next what I am gonna do Danny he's the tchaikovsky's. Not easy but you will have to. Prepare I will prepare and I will permit that people meanwhile you've heard him do little guys and dolls and now. You've I was back saying I love I will always love you by Whitney Houston apparently did and I I know. I now. I what Al Goodman did a double double bill a double bill next time looking. We're giving and didn't get Olympics couldn't get more out of fuel savings of eight. So mistreated.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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