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Jake Gyllenhaal Says He 'Learned a Lot' from The Prince of Persia's Whitewashing Backlash

Jake Gyllenhaal Says He 'Learned a Lot' from The Prince of Persia's Whitewashing Backlash

Jake Gyllenhaal is opening up about the backlash he received for his 2010 film The Prince of Persia.

The 38-year-old actor spoke to Yahoo! Entertainment about the film which was his first foray in a large blockbuster film — although he admitted the reception it drew turned him off from other blockbuster fare.

“I think I learned a lot from that movie in that I spend a lot of time trying to be very thoughtful about the roles that I pick and why I’m picking them,” Gyllenhaal said.

The Prince of Persia drew criticism for casting the actor instead of a performer of Iranian descent to play the lead Dastan.

“You’re bound to slip up and be like, ‘That wasn’t for me,’ or ‘That didn’t fit perfectly,'” Gyllenhaal said. “There have been a number of roles like that. And then a number of roles that do.”

Jake Gyllenhaal in The Prince of Persia | Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock
Jake Gyllenhaal in The Prince of Persia | Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock

Despite shying away from big box office movies, the actor said yes to appearing as Mysterio in this summer’s Spider-Man: Far From Home opposite Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Marisa Tomei and Jon Favreau.

It’s a full circle moment for Gyllenhaal, who had been rumored to be in consideration for the role of Spider-Man in the 2004 sequel to the hit original after Tobey Maguire injured himself.

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“I heard the same thing,” Gyllenhaal said of those casting rumors. “The truth of the matter is, in the end, he’s Spider-Man.”

Jake Gyllenhaal | Kevin Winter/Getty
Jake Gyllenhaal | Kevin Winter/Getty

He continued, “There are so many roles in my career where I was up against another actor, or something happened that possibly could’ve happened but didn’t happen but maybe it could have. Eventually, my belief is when an actor’s played a character, particularly in a movie, the character’s theirs, and that’s that.”

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“But yeah [Maguire] hurt himself and there was talk,” he added. “And there was a slew of actors [possible up for the part] and I was one of them.”

Spider-Man: Far From Home is in theaters now.