The 33-year-old actor portrays Lou Bloom, a driven young man desperate for work who becomes a freelance crime journalist in Los Angeles. Bloom chases after crashes, fires and murders each night in order to be the first to film the mayhem and convert the tragedies into dollars and cents. He finds an ally in Nina (Rene Russo), a veteran local TV reporter, and the line between observer and participant begins to blur.
The film is directed by Russo's husband Dan Gilroy (writer of The Fall, The Bourne Legacy), and co-stars Bill Paxton, Riz Ahmed and Kevin Rahm. Gyllenhaal lost 20 pounds for the role, and will also appear in Nailed later this year.
Nightcrawler opens in theaters October 17.