Jake Gyllenhaal to portray conductor Leonard Bernstein in The American
Following his acclaimed role in the 2017 biographical drama Stronger, Jake Gyllenhaal will return to the biopic genre with the upcoming film The American. Gyllenhaal will portray Leonard Bernstein, the celebrated conductor of the New York Philharmonic at the young age of 25 who went on to compose music for major productions, including West Side Story, Peter Pan and On the Waterfront, but who also struggled privately with rising to his and the public’s expectations for his work.
The film will be directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, who is well known for his work on the HBO hit True Detective and the acclaimed Netflix war drama Beasts of No Nation, and written by Michael Mitnick, who is known for his work on the 2014 young adult sci-fi film The Giver and the short-lived HBO drama Vinyl.
Gyllenhaal cited West Side as a major influence on him as a child and that as he got older he discovered the array of Bernstein’s library and “the debt of gratitude modern American culture owes him,” and called him a “fascinating figure” and considers it “an honor” to tell his story on the big screen.
Fukunaga recognizes that Bernstein’s passions helped changed how “generations understood and appreciated music,” and that “Jake [Gyllenhaal] is the perfect partner to bring this story to life and to play this legend.”
The American is set to begin principal photography this fall and will auction international sales at Cannes this month.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)