John Mulaney on why he wanted to work with 'genius' Jake Gyllenhaal: 'He’s out of his mind'
One of the best parts of John Mulaney's Sack Lunch Bunch is the sheer star power that pops on screen in the Netflix musical special. David Byrne and Natasha Lyonne are just some of the famous faces that appeared, and one particular fan-favorite guest star was Jake Gyllenhaal.
The actor played Mr. Music, a character in the special who showed children that music is everywhere. On The Tonight Show, Mulaney said Gyllenhaal was his first choice for the role because he was perfectly "out of his mind" to embody the eccentric character.
Mulaney and his team had liked Gyllenhaal's performance in Bong Joon Ho's Okja and were impressed when he sang a Dreamgirls tune, of all things, in his Saturday Night Live monologue. Another experience similarly convinced the comedian that Gyllenhaal was right for the part.
"I had seen him in Sunday in the Park With George, the musical," Mulaney explained. "I remember watching it and I was like thinking, 'Oh man, I’m never going to be an actor. That guy thinks he’s the person. He’s out of his mind — this is great.'"
And when Mulaney finally got to work with the actor, he wasn't disappointed. The Oscar nominee was totally in, even when Mulaney admitted that his ideal pick for Mr. Music was "Harry Belafonte in 1961." Gyllenhaal got the vibe right away.
"He said, 'Should I play Caribbean?' And I said, 'It’s probably not a good idea,'" Mulaney said, to laughter from the audience. "And he said, 'Why don’t I play like I’m from somewhere in Europe and I want to be from the Caribbean?' And I was like, 'You’re a genius.'"
For Gyllenhaal's segment on Sack Lunch Bunch, watch the video below.