Jake Gyllenhaal reveals to Bill Simmons the one scene from ‘Stronger’ that haunted him

Jake Gyllenhaal with Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman during the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto. –Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal appeared on Bill Simmons’s podcast to talk about a variety of topics, including whether his Boston accent in Stronger was any good and the one scene in the film that made him break down and cry.

Stronger chronicles real-life Boston Marathon bombing survivor and double amputee Jeff Bauman in the weeks following the April 2013 attack. The scene that Gyllenhaal cited occurs in the second half of the movie, when Bauman (Gyllenhaal) has been out drinking and blows off his girlfriend, Erin Hurley (Tatiana Maslany). After she picks him up, a screaming argument ensues, with Hurley eventually leaving Bauman in the car. Bauman hauls himself out of the car and begins dragging himself across the parking lot, screaming for Hurley to come back.


Gyllenhaal said that the cast and crew shot that scene until 2 a.m., and when he went home, the scene haunted him.

“I just couldn’t get out of it,” Gyllenhaal said. “I didn’t sleep that night.”

The next morning, when Gyllenhaal was chatting with a makeup artist on set, his emotions got the best of him.

“I went in and we started talking, and I just broke down,” Gyllenhaal said. “I just cried to him.”

Gyllenhaal was quick to point out that any amount of emotional filmmaking would “never get anywhere near what Jeff went through,” but said that he tried his best to fully inhabit the role of Bauman.

Gyllenhaal and Simmons also touched on Gyllenhaal’s Boston accent in the film. While Gyllenhaal said he received negative reviews for it, Simmons, a Massachusetts native, said that Gyllenhaal and Maslany both “nailed” it.

“Some reviews, people were like, ‘He’s doing his best Brooklyn accent,’ and I was like, ‘F*** you man,’’’ Gyllenhaal said. “We worked really hard on that, so that’s really good to hear from you. Thank you for setting the record straight.”

Listen to the full podcast here: