Jake Gyllenhaal Made A Stealth Directorial Debut In Michael Bay's Ambulance

Actors becoming directors is nothing new in Hollywood. Typically, however, it happens in a piecemeal fashion. They start off by forming their own production company and becoming increasingly selective about the types of movies they work on, either as an actor and/or a producer. Margot Robbie, for example, broke out with her turn in "The Wolf of Wall Street" before co-founding her production shingle, LuckyChap Entertainment, in 2014. She's since focused on making films about complicated, messy women who refuse to fit neatly into our definitions of what makes one person good and another bad, like "I, Tonya" (which she starred in) and "Promising Young Woman" (which she produced). In her own way, Robbie's already become a bit of an auteur, prior to actually taking the leap to being a full-blown director.

Then there's the more direct approach, like an actor straight-up taking the camera out of their director's hand mid-shoot. This is, apparently, what happened on "Ambulance," the upcoming action-thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Eiza González. In an interview with Esquire, Abdul-Mateen revealed that Gyllenhaal "loves the camera," enough so that he even took over calling the shots from the movie's actual director, Michael Bay (!), every now and then:

"There were times when he would take the camera from Mike [Bay] and then you look around and Jake is shooting the scene. I had never seen anything like that before. I'm curious about those things, but I would never ask the director if I could shoot a scene."

First Maggie, then Jake?

In his defense, Gyllenhaal has shown an interest in becoming more involved behind the camera on his movies over the last ten years, long before he began snatching the camera right out of his directors' hands (although it sounds like Bay was cool with it). Starting with "End of Watch" in 2012, he's served as a producer on many of his starring vehicles, including "Nightcrawler," "Stronger," and, most recently, "The Guilty," as well as films that he didn't actually appear in, like "The Devil All the Time" and "Joe Bell." He told Variety he was "searching" for either the right movie or TV series to serve as his official directorial debut back in 2014, stating that he has "yet to feel presumptuous enough" to make the jump and is waiting for a project where his "heart lines up with the material in a visual way."

Jump to eight years later, and it seems Gyllenhaal's desire to add "Movie Director" to his credentials has only intensified, judging by his antics behind-the-scenes on "Ambulance." Interestingly, Gyllenhaal's sister and fellow actor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, only just made her own feature film directorial debut on the fantastic 2021 drama "The Lost Daughter." That's not to suggest there's some type of sibling rivalry motivating Jake Gyllenhaal to get his directing career up and going (then again, I'm not not saying that), but it sounds like he's closer than ever to taking that plunge. Color me curious to see what happens when/if he does.

Until then, you can catch (Jake) Gyllenhaal on the big screen when "Ambulance" opens in theaters on April 8, 2022.