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'Man vs. Wild' Season 6: Jake Gyllenhaal joins Bear Grylls

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal will join survivalist and connoisseur of on-the-go delicacies, Bear Grylls, to kick off a fresh batch of new episodes for the Discovery Channel series ‘Man vs. Wild.'

By Kevin YeomanScreen Rant / July 7, 2011

Jake Gyllenhaal attends the Academy Awards on March 5, 2006. The actor will join survivalist Bear Grylls in the season premier of 'Man vs. Wild.'

Kathy Hutchins/Newscom/ File

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Just how impressive is Bear Grylls’ resume? Let’s see: served in the British Special Air Services, has climbed Mount Everest, is a television star and Internet meme, and now he’ll be Jake Gyllenhaal’s newest co-star (or is that the other way around?).

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The host of The Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild will be joined by the actor while facing the wilds of Iceland, in the adventure series’ upcoming slew of new episodes.

Apparently, Grylls and Gyllenhaal share more than just hard-to-spell surnames – as evidenced by two clips from Gyllenhaal’s upcoming episode of Man vs. Wild, they also have a passion for the outdoors and adventure.

For his part in the hit Discovery Channel series, Gyllenhaal spent two days with Grylls in Iceland – traversing some of the country’s most rugged terrain. From promos recently released by the network, it looks as though he took his newfound position seriously and (for the most part) was up to the challenge.

According to Gyllenhaal, the draw was learning from Grylls and taking part in the adventure. Gyllenhaal says, “For me, it’s all about discovery.” While that will likely end up as a sound bite for the network, it’s easy to see how an experience with Grylls could be described that way.

Sure, for the more cynical lot, Man vs. Wild has taken some hits for the way it depicted Grylls’ tales of survival. Even though there is a disclaimer before the show stating Grylls’ experience is not “one of unaided solo survival”, at least one act in the Gyllenhaal promos looks fairly harrowing.

In the first clip, the Source Code star is seen shimmying across a length of rope between two mountains. For anyone who has survived the trials of your average gym class, that act alone should earn the actor some respect – aided or not.

Grylls had this to say about his hiking companion:

“I have a rule not to take anyone who is fitter or better-looking than me but I kind of let that slide and ended up taking the fittest man in Hollywood.

"We hit these crazy storms. They were the worst storms they’ve had in Iceland in 10 years. There was a jumbo jet blown sideways across a runway. Meanwhile I was up in this mountain with Jake being blown about like tumbleweed.”

Take a look at two clips featuring the ‘fittest man in Hollywood’ in Man vs. Wild below:

Gyllenhaal isn’t the only star to strap on the backpack and point to dangerous things with a camera crew following. Will Ferrell survived 48 hours with Grylls in the Arctic Circle in 2009, and, rumor has it, Cameron Diaz (Bad Teacher), has seized the opportunity to guest star on the show sometime during its next season.

If this trend proves as popular as The Discovery Channel is likely intending, there may be new life breathed into Man vs. Wild. Just think of the potential: Dan Rather jumping out of a low-flying helicopter over an active volcano, or Russell Crowe eating a freshly-killed mountain goat in the Rocky Mountains. The possibilities are endless.

Whatever the upcoming episodes of Man vs. Wild brings, it certainly helps break up the doldrums of summer TV.

Remember when summer television was nothing but boring reruns of shows you half-heartedly watched in the first place? It was like the networks were conspiring to keep kids outside as long as possible. Finally, there’s a legitimate reason to stay inside during the long, hot days of summer – watching Bear Grylls drag Jake Gyllenhaal all over Iceland.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s Man vs. Wild experience airs July 11 at 9 p.m. on The Discovery Channel.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Kevin Yeoman blogs at Screen Rant.

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