Jake Gyllenhaal has revealed that he acts to "learn about life" and not to pick up awards.

The Nightcrawler star told The Independent:  "I don't do the job [for awards]. I do it to learn about life.

"I think acting is an incredibly immature, selfish profession, but on the flipside of that, it helps you practice empathy. When you do your research, you see what real people are doing in the world."

The 34-year-old actor also explained that he enjoys taking on challenging roles, saying: "I love movies that have currency. Movies are political, whether they're escapist or tackle something head on. There's a responsibility in telling a story. There's a responsibility to know your own mind.

"One of the things that changes in your career is that, at the beginning, people are telling you what you fit into, and later, if you do some things that people like, you make the decisions yourself. You have to know yourself well enough to make those decisions."