I knew it was St George's Day when I walked passed someone in town today who was dressed in full Crusader armour, complete with immense helmet (just a slit for eyes), a red cross on his tunic, a sword and a shield carried on his back. Rather excessive for a warm Spring day I thought. But yet, no sign in sight of anyone doing William Shakespeare a similar honour even though, of course, St George's Day is also Shakespeare's Birthday.
As a lover of the theatre, movies and actors - well, one actor mainly (I know, things about the site give that away) - I wanted to mark this day, which I've always celebrated.
High from the success of his theatre debut in This Is Our Youth, Jake Gyllenhaal in 2004 was so close to stepping onto the West End boards wearing the mantle of Romeo: 'I am chomping at the bit... There are periods of time in your life where you can truly and honestly pull certain characters off. Romeo happens to fit right now. I have never performed Shakespeare, but I have an innate feeling that this role and I will get along just fine. I've outgrown quirky -- on to the Romantics.' This performance would have been for Laurence Boswell, Jake's director for This Is Our Youth.
Lynn Collins would have been the lucky, lucky girl to play Juliet. She, in the small world that is Hollywood, is now cast in Gavin Hood's Wolverine as Silver Fox.
And it is a compliment when Jake compares working with a director to doing Shakespeare, as was the case with David Fincher: 'I think this movie in particular was different for him in that he wanted to be more for the actors. And he gave us a space in which we could work. But he knows what he wants; he’s very clear about it and in a lot of ways that discipline’s sort of like working on Shakespeare. You have to stay within the iambic pentameter; you have to stay within the rules, but within those rules I think are amazing discoveries.'
As for hearing Jake himself quote Shakespeare, the best we can do is Jake's line in Rendition, taken from a speech by Portia in The Merchant of Venice, which contributes to making the 'pie chart' scene one of my favourites from the entire film: 'but I fear you speak upon the rack, Where men enforced do speak anything.' It makes me want more. You can see that scene here:
All this talk of directors reminds me that, today, it was revealed by Hollywood Reporter exactly why James Caan resigned from the Nailed project. It all stems from a debate with director David Russell - which Caan obviously lost - on whether one would be able to cough when choking to death on a cookie. I can honestly say this is not an issue that has ever troubled me before today and I think it's fairly certain that it will never trouble me again. The idea of two grown men having an 'artistic discussion' about such a thing makes me want each of them to test their respective theories.
Doesn't it depend on the type of cookie?
I'll own up to feeling slightly more alarmed that Jake is starring in a movie in which the Speaker of the House chokes to death on a cookie. I'm wondering at where the line is drawn between political satire and slapstick.
There is a theme to the photos in this evening's post, prompted by yesterday being Earth Day. Jake's role in raising awareness of environmental issues among filmgoers (through speaking out on the issue during the promotion of The Day After Tomorrow as well as visiting the Inuit to highlight the threat of global warming), led to his selection as one of the stars to receive an amazing 'goody bag' of environment treats. You can marvel here at the full selection of 'Earth Day Swag'. It includes everything from yoga books and mats, odour eaters and dog toys to naked cotton clothing, coffee and barbie doll accessories.
I wasn't too sure if these shorts in the picture below were green so I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, for some reason that has very little to do with colour. The picture below that one features nothing green at all - I just liked it. Noone wears a hat quite like Jake. Incidentally, Jake's favourite colour is - traditionally - green.
Pictures from IHJ.