Jake Gyllenhaal reveals why Disney's Strange World is 'mind-blowing'

Strange World Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal leads an all-star voice cast for Strange World. (Image credit: Disney)

Get ready to embrace a ‘whole new world’ as a family of explorers go on an epic journey through a mysterious land crawling with monsters in Disney’s new animated action movie Strange World, now on Disney Plus.

The Indiana Jones-style adventure follows scientist-turned-farmer Searcher Clade (voiced by Donnie Darko’s Jake Gyllenhaal) as he’s given the shock news that something is killing Pando, the plant-based energy source he discovered that provides power to the community of Avalonia. 

With their three-legged dog Legend and a mischievous blue blob called Splat in tow, Searcher, his wife Meridian (The Inspection’s Gabrielle Union), their 16-year-old son Ethan (Big Mouth’s Jaboukie Young-White), and president of Avalonia, Callisto Mal (Elementary’s Lucy Liu), navigate an uncharted hidden subterranean land full of bizarre creatures and unknown dangers that may hold the answers to saving their kingdom.

Here Jake Gyllenhaal reveals more about playing a character in a world like no other...

How do you approach playing an animated character like Searcher?

"The character developed over a year, then really started to take shape. What’s wonderful about working with all the animators is that they're really open to you bringing yourself to the character. Little do you know that they’re starting to watch your face, watch your movement, watch your facial expressions. And the character slowly becomes you as you become ‘it’, in this odd, extraordinary transformation. So I was bringing myself without even realising I was bringing myself!"

Strange World Searcher Meridian Ethan

Searcher goes on an adventure with wife Meridian (Gabrielle Union) and son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White). (Image credit: Disney)

How would you describe Strange World visually?

"The world of 'Strange World' is so rich, alive and mysterious. There are layers in the images that you could watch for three, four or five times and there’s always something to discover. The illustrations, the artistry is mind-blowing."

Jake Gyllehaal voices Searcher Clade

Searcher leads the expedition into the mysterious land that might hold answers to saving their kingdom. (Image credit: Disney)

Searcher has chosen a life of farming over exploring. Which would you choose?

"I have some experience of farming — I have a few close friends who are actually farmers — but I love adventures, too, and I really do love to cook. What comes from the Earth and what we eat is, to me, one of the most important things in my life. When I cook for myself, I like getting my produce from the ground. So I would probably go with farming."

Strange World Jake Gyllenhaal Searcher Dennis Quaid Jaeger

Searcher and his father Jaeger are going in opposite directions. Can they find common ground? (Image credit: Disney)

Ethan and mischievous blob splat

Ethan with mischievous blob splat. (Image credit: Disney)

What does Strange World say about family and our connection to the wider world? 

"Strange World is really about having to go to a place that’s maybe scary or different, to be able to learn to listen to those we love the most in our lives. This movie is a lot about how we treat the environment, what we’re doing to it and what we’re doing to ourselves as a result of it. I think the environment will continue. The question is, will we?"

Strange World is available on Disney Plus now. 

Victoria Wilson
Feature Writer for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and WhatToWatch.com

With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!