Photo Credit: Lionsgate Films
Generally speaking, running illegal drugs across the Mexican border isn't a great way to break into show business. But everybody has to start somewhere -- and one teen with a criminal past now has a feature film credit, thanks to Jake Gyllenhaal.
Here's how it happened. Gyllenhaal was preparing for the movie Brothers, in which he plays an ex-convict whose military brother (Tobey Maguire) goes missing in Afghanistan, sending his wife (Natalie Portman) into Gyllenhaal's arms. Since he would be playing a grown juvenile delinquent, Jake decided to spend some time with actual teen convicts. In an experience that he says changed his life, Gyllenhaal hung out with murderers, drug dealers, teens serving life sentences, and recently-freed criminals trying to get their lives back. One in particular, a boy named Victor, made an impression. Says the actor:
"This kid Victor was in jail, and he was released and had the opportunity to change his life and told us stories that were unreal to me... He was hiding meth in the back of a lamp of a four wheel vehicle driving over the border and he was sixteen. He changed his life and is working for the governor's office in Sacramento now."
After Jake shared Victor's amazing story with director Jim Sheridan, Victor was offered a small role in the film. You'll be able to see him in the scene where Maguire's helicopter goes down.
Sounds like a nice break for a kid who really deserves one.
Check out the latest trailer for Brothers, in theaters this Friday.
Do you think teen criminals deserve a second chance? Chime in below!