Road House: An actor and a UFC fighter walk into a bar – but which is which?

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Road House sees Jake Gyllenhaal and Conor McGregor experience each other’s worlds, with Irish UFC champion and boxer Conor making his acting debut, and Hollywood star Jake stepping into a real-life UFC fighting ring for the first time. 

“I consider that [the UFC ring] a sacred space for a professional fighter,” Jake, 43, tells TV WEEK. “I consider the stage the same place, but in a different way, so to be allowed in there [was incredible]. We gave it our all.”

road house Jake Gyllenhaal
(Image: Prime Video)

Road House is a retelling of the 1989 film starring the late Patrick Swayze, the Dirty Dancing lead who Jake had starred alongside in the cult 2001 film Donnie Darko

“My sister took me to see Dirty Dancing and Road House when we were kids,” Jake says. “Patrick was always so good to me, and I wanted to honour him and his energy from the first film.” 

Road House follows Dalton (Jake), a former UFC fighter who’s running from his past when he’s spotted by Frankie (Jessica Williams), the owner of a roadhouse in the Florida Keys. 

road house Jake Gyllenhaal
(Image: Prime Video)

When a violent gang working for crime boss Brandt (Billy Magnussen) keeps disturbing the peace at her venue, she recruits Dalton as her bouncer to keep them at bay. But when muscle-for-hire Knox (Conor) shows up, what ensues is far more brutal than anything Dalton faced in the ring. 

Flashbacks of Dalton as a fighter were shot at the UFC 285 event in Las Vegas in 2023, where Jake had only minutes to film his scenes between bouts, while Conor, the former UFC featherweight and lightweight world champion, was in the stands for a change – revving up the crowd to get behind the action.

“When the fans saw me cheering, and then they started cheering, it was worth its weight in gold,” the 35-year-old says. 

road house Jake Gyllenhaal
(Image: Prime Video)

Conor admits filming the fight scenes was harder than he’d expected.

“I’ve finished people in seconds – 10 seconds is my fastest UFC world title fight,” he says. “But these are 18-hour days. Also, it’s real – you’re fighting, and there’s a bit of script, but you’re taking wallops. Jake slammed the door on my head about 20 times. I had a black eye from the door, with the director saying, ‘It doesn’t look real enough – do it again.’ I said, ‘I’ve got a f**king black eye, director!’” 

Jake says that while he likes to keep in good shape, Road House “was a whole different game”.

“I had a team of people, including a phenomenal trainer, a nutritionist and an excellent chef who prepared my meals,” he says. It was two months of intense working out beforehand.” 

road house
(Image: Prime Video)

And can we expect to see Conor acting again anytime soon? 

“If you want to say I’m going to be Hollywood’s hard man, who could stop me?” Conor asks. “I did this for real, and I’ve done it for real all my career, so I for sure could be.”

Stream Road House on Prime Video from $9.99/mth, with a 30-day free trial.

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