updated 03/01/2007 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/02/2007 AT 7:55 AM ET
Jake Gyllenhaal stars in the new thriller Zodiac, but one of his favorite roles is doting uncle to neice Ramona.
“It’s great, wonderful,” the actor, 26, told PEOPLE. Ramona, who was born in October to Gyllenhaal’s big sister Maggie and actor Peter Sarsgaard, is “incredible.”
“Of course, I’ve brought over presents,” he said Wednesday at the Cinema Society and GQ New York City screening of Zodiac. “She’s not talking yet, but she looks amazing. I revel in her growth. It’s an amazing process to watch – and to watch my sister also.”
In Zodiac, Gyllenhaal plays Robert Graysmith, the San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist obsessed with the case of the Zodiac killer who terrorized the Bay Area starting in the late ’60s. The actor said he picked up some of that passion himself.
“I think it was something natural when you’re shooting for 110 days, being immersed in a case where there is so much information and every scene consists of making sure that the dialogue is so detailed,” he said.
Still: “I wouldn’t say I find a lot of similarities with my character. Obsession has many manifestations. I always looked at it like he loves puzzles. He’s like a kid in a candy store. It’s an odd candy store, obviously. But for him, there was a joy in every clue that he got.”