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Maggie Ruth Gyllenhaal (born November 16, 1977) is an American actress.
She is the older sister of Jake Gyllenhaal and the daughter of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner. Gyllenhaal began her acting career in a film directed by her father, and later achieved recognition in her own right playing her real-life brother's on-screen sister in the cult hit Donnie Darko. Gyllenhaal made her breakthrough in the sadomasochistic romance, Secretary, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination.
Gyllenhaal has chosen an eclectic range of roles, from indie films such as Sherrybaby, for which she was also nominated for a Golden Globe, to the romantic comedy Trust the Man and big-budget studio films such as World Trade Center and The Dark Knight.
Gyllenhaal is a politically active Democrat and like her brother and parents supports the American Civil Liberties Union. Gyllenhaal participated in anti-war demonstrations in the lead-up to the US-led invasion of Iraq and achieved some notoriety for being quoted as saying America was "responsible in some way" for the 9/11 attacks.
Gyllenhaal's first film roles were directed by her father: Waterland (1992), her feature film debut, A Dangerous Woman (1993), and Homegrown (1998), the latter two also featured her brother. After graduating from college, she had a number of supporting roles, in such films as 40 Days and 40 Nights, Riding in Cars with Boys and Cecil B. DeMented. Paper Magazine has described these roles, including her casting as Donnie Darko's sister opposite real-life brother Jake, as "the girl you're not supposed to notice".
Gyllenhaal's break-out role was in the black comedy Secretary (2002), a film about two people who embark on a mutually fulfilling BDSM lifestyle. The film earned Gyllenhaal widespread acclaim including a Golden Globe nomination, and marked the first time Gyllenhaal performed full frontal nudity on camera. Although impressed with the script, Gyllenhaal initially had some qualms about doing the film, which she believed could deliver an antifeminist message. But after carefully discussing the script with the film's director, Steven Shainberg, she agreed to join the project. Although insisting Shainberg did not exploit her, Gyllenhaal has said she felt "slightly taken advantage of" and in agreeing to do certain scenes she "conceded in a way that maybe in retrospect I wish I hadn't."
Gyllenhaal then had a series of supporting roles in films such as the Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman comedy Adaptation., and Mona Lisa Smile starring Julia Roberts. She also appeared in smaller independent films such as John Sayles's Casa de los Babys, and Criminal with John C. Reilly and Diego Luna. Another notable appearance was in Happy Endings in which she played a singer, and recorded songs for the movie's soundtrack. She also recently played a love interest of Harold Crick, played by Will Ferrell, in Stranger Than Fiction.
Gyllenhaal has also appeared in the theater. She starred as Alice in the Mark Taper Forum production of Patrick Marber's Closer, and performed at the Taper in a production of Tony Kushner's Homebody/ Kabul. Kushner gave Gyllenhaal the role in Homebody/ Kabul on the strength of her performance in Closer.
She has modeled for Miu Miu, a branch of the Prada fashion house, and for Reebok.
Maggie is also officially signed on to replace Katie Holmes in being Christian Bale's Batman's love interest, Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins.
In 2004, Gyllenhaal was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
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