Jake Gyllenhaal has a ''powerful'' bond with his nieces.

The 'Southpaw' actor is very close to his older sister Maggie Gyllenhaal's daughters Ramona, eight, and three-year-old Gloria, and admits he jumped at the chance to play a father in the new film because it's something he is yearning for in real life.

He said: ''I would love for it not to be fictional. I have two nieces whom I adore and whom I'm connected to in so many powerful ways. They are deeply ingrained in the movie and my love for them is there.''

Jake is also very close to his parents, Stephen and Naomi, and says their divorce in 2009 after 30 years of marriage ''allowed me to be more honest with myself''.

He explained to PEOPLE: ''There was a sense of two people who said, 'What is our truth?' It was painful for a lot of people in our family but that honesty was inspiring.''

The 34-year-old star, who is currently single, dated a string of famous women, including Kirsten Dunst, Reese Witherspoon and Taylor Swift, in his 20s, but admits being in a celebrity relationship ''can be distracting from your creativity''.

He said: ''There are these extraordinarily charismatic people in the entertainment industry, and it's hugely intoxicating. But I think it can be distracting from your creativity. A few years ago I went, 'Why am I chasing something outside?' AlI have is what is inside me to express.''