October 28, 2004 11:00 AM

Jake Gyllenhaal is enlisting to star in a film adaptation of the best-selling book Jarhead, about author and ex-Marine Anthony Swofford’s experiences in the first Gulf War.

The film is expected to begin production this year, and American Beauty director Sam Mendes has been tapped to direct, the Associated Press reports.

Gyllenhaal recently appeared in the environmental-disaster pic The Day After Tomorrow, which was just released on DVD. The 23-year-old star has also appeared opposite Jennifer Aniston in 2002’s The Good Girl, and in the movie cult favorite, Donnie Darko. He is next scheduled to appear in the Ang Lee film Brokeback Mountain and an adaptation of the stage hit Proof.

In recent days, Gyllenhaal has taken a break from filming to get in on the presidential campaign. On Wednesday the actor joined other celebrities including Jon Bon Jovi and Leonardo DiCaprio on the campaign trail with vice presidential hopeful John Edwards.

Gyllenhaal was expected to continue stumping for Edwards on Thursday in Minnesota and Iowa as well.

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