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Jake Gyllenhaal Will Play Leonard Bernstein in Cary Fukunaga’s The American

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal attends the Wildlife Premiere during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Theater on January 20, 2018 in Park City, Utah.
Jake Gyllenhaal at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Angela Weiss / Getty Images

It looks like the long-snubbed Jake Gyllenhaal is really gunning for his Best Actor Oscar, because he just signed onto The American, a Leonard Bernstein biopic directed by Cary Fukunaga. Fukunaga, known for helming such films as Jane Eyre (2011) and Beasts of No Nation, is set to adapt Humphrey Burton’s biography Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein led a complicated personal and professional life, in part due to his closeted sexuality. The film will follow the legendary composer starting in his mid-twenties.

“Like many people, Leonard Bernstein found his way into my life and heart through West Side Story when I was a kid,” Gyllenhaal told Variety. “But as I got older and started to learn about the scope of his work, I began to understand the extent of his unparalleled contribution and the debt of gratitude modern American culture owes him. As a man, Bernstein was a fascinating figure—full of genius and contradiction—and it will be an incredible honor to tell his story with a talent and friend like Cary.” Gyllenhaal will also produce the film.