Jake Gyllenhaal seems like a golden boy. Son of a film director and screenwriter, a movie star since his teens, he’s been in everything from “Brokeback Mountain” to a Marvel movie.

Yet in “Variety on Broadway,” he tells “Tootsie’s” David Yazbek that he feels like an outsider.

“I’ve never felt like I’ve ever fit in anywhere,” Gyllenhaal says, “sort of a little bit always on the outskirts of the theater and sort of the same for movies. And that seems like the perfect personality to come on stage, like never really feeling like you fit in fully.” Gyllenhaal’s early memories of Broadway are from seeing shows with his mother, screenwriter Naomi Foner.

“Somehow every time I saw a show, I felt like my heart was just connecting and open in a way that I had never really felt before. And it has come to be even more, because of the community of Broadway and the family that I formed as a result of being in a number of shows.”

While Gyllenhaal had New York roots, Yazbek grew up in Gotham. “It was a filthier, and in many ways a much more enjoyable New York City, at the time,” he says of his early trips to Broadway. “There was like a little danger to it also. So going into a theater to see a show also felt like you were coming from one world into another world.

“It was almost moving, even as a kid, to see people, live people, and you knew they were doing this night after night, getting up there to give you something. To give you their energy.”

Gyllenhaal, appearing in the two-monologue show “Sea Wall / A Life” (he performs “A Life”), says he adores naturalism, but also loves musical theater, which leans away from naturalism. “To bring the two together, to me, felt like a science project,” he says to Yazbek. “That’s what I love,” says Gyllenhaal, “and the thrill of the challenge of storytelling, nightly, as an actor, to take what you guys have done and to say, ‘Can we do this?’”

Watch the full interview below (or in our video archive):