The Hollywood star, who has no actual inkings in real life, revealed that he came up with the idea of having fake tattoos applied each day to help him get into character.
While the cross on his hand and the intricate star on his neck are visible in some scenes, Jake explained that he wanted to keep his body art partially covered up to reflect his character's "shame" at hiding something.
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"It was a daily thing," Jake told E! Online. "The idea just came from the fact that I didn't really want the tattoos to be seen, strangely. We had them put on and then it was about hiding them and I think that gave me something to play in a scene.
"It was interesting for me to play against something. And that hiding of something, those things that you might be ashamed of as a character, was sort of personified in the tattoos."
In the crime thriller, Jake stars alongside Hugh Jackman and plays the mysterious Detective Loki, an inspector whose job is to find two missing girls. His character's origin is shrouded in mystery and as the film's screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski brands him, "a prisoner of his own past with his own demons".
"Jake came up with the idea of the tattoos and the freemason ring and the facial tics," said Aaron, explaining that the charming actor had invented his character's back story.
"All of that further accentuated that mysteriousness, where you're never quite sure what his story is. You get a good sense of him as a person but the question always lingers."
Jake, who is known for playing intriguing roles in films such as Donnie Darko and Brokeback Mountain, is currently in the UK promoting his latest work.
Prisoners pulled in an impressive £13.3million in US box offices and is due to hit UK cinemas on 27 September.