A few weeks ago, TV show host and adventure junkie Bear Grylls was watching Hollywood star Jack Gyllenhaal on a chat show. “He was joking about what it was like being famous. He said ‘it’s great, if I ever needed something, I’ll ring up my friend Gordon Ramsey. Or if get lost in the wild, I’ll ring up Bear’,” he says, adding that even though he didn’t personally know Jake, he sent him an email inviting him to travel with him. “He just went ‘yes, that would be fun’.”
Though Grylls is known to walk into danger and cheat death almost every other day, while shooting parts of season six of his Discovery Channel TV show, Man Vs Wild, he insists the dynamics are quite different because another person’s life is at risk.
“When I’m on your own, I don’t need to double check a knot. But when suddenly I have Jake Gyllenhaal hanging off it, I have to triple check it before letting him commit to it,” he says.
The exploration expert travelled to Iceland with Jake, apart from touring New Zealand and Borneo. Recalling some of the toughest situations that he and the actor wriggled out of, he adds, “We were 5,000 feet high, when we hit hurricane winds moving at 160 kph. The other was crossing a huge gorge, which had a 150-foot drop. We had to balance on top of this and pull ourselves along. Jake was really nervous. He’s pretty scared of heights.”
With no format preparation, the two headed out into the wilderness few months ago. “I always say ‘just trust me and we’ll be okay’. But with Jake, it was definitely one of the worst conditions I’ve ever had on my own. He really got thrown in at the deep end, but I thought that he would love that; he’d never been there. And it made sense to both of our schedules,” says Grylls. The episode featuring Jake airs on Wednesday at 9 pm on Discovery Channel.