Gyllenhaal Talks His “Okja” Performance Backlash

One of the most enjoyable elements of Bong Joon Ho’s recent Netflix original feature is Jake Gyllenhaal’s often unhinged and over the top performance as Johnny Wilcox.

Part exotic zoologist, mostly washed up TV celebrity, it’s a manic, sweaty, turn of desperation, high energy, deceit and surprising darkness. It’s also proven somewhat divisive with audiences confused by the actor’s take on the role.

Gyllenhaal himself though is very happy that audiences aren’t quite sure what he’s going for. He tells EW:

“I love that. I just really love that when one thing can vacillate between one end of the spectrum and the other. And that was the point of the character. From the very beginning, Bong said to me, ‘We have to hate you and you have to be bad.’

That was the goal and, well, I’d say we reached it. And so some people really love that and some people just think it’s genuinely bad. That’s fine. That’s the reason why I do my job, for reactions like that.”

It certainly has both its supporters who’re enraptured with the sheer lunacy of it, and its detractors who’ve found it too abrasive. The film itself is now available worldwide on Netflix.