With Chekov's Seagull opening on Broadway this Thursday, starring our very own Peter Sarsgaard, I'm in a theatrical mood, helped along by Peter's appearance in an Associated Press interview today. The interview itself takes place on the stoop of his Brooklyn house (complete with blueberry muffin).
For the role of Trigorin, Peter has 'grown a lush beard... and radiates both charisma and sleaze.' And in the interview we learn that, at the last minute and without warning, Peter switched his accent on stage to an English one in order to be less acceptable to the audience. After An Education, Peter should be well-versed and, of course, he can practise with the Prince of Persia himself.
Hot on the heels of the announcement that Brokeback Mountain is to be turned into an opera, we now hear that Bubble Boy is to be 'musicalised' (I've made that word up). At this rate we'll be getting Zodiac on Ice.
Bubble Boy has had its share of critics, after all, it could be construed as being slightly tasteless. However, that is because you have to suspend belief and feed the laughter glands by revelling in Jimmy's happiness at being out of his bubble room and into the big wide world (albeit while still in a bubble), where you can tread on dog poo, leap in sunlight pools, mud wrestle, have your first sip of beer and meet shiny happy people (not to mention a bunch of other lunatics), while chasing your blue-eye blonde-haired dream all the way to Niagara Falls.
This film was also Jake Gyllenhaal's first experience of the stunt world of being a movie star: 'I'm falling over waterfalls, flying in an airplane, and being tossed off motorcycles... I did a lot of the stunts because the bubble makes it safer to hit the ground.' Jake also defended the film when the Immune Deficiency Foundation called for a boycott: 'It's actually really political, and I think, while being political, really empathetic to people who might be considered sort of oddball and different, and so in essence it becomes different itself.'
Some critics really did get the joke - and the charm in Jimmy's situation: 'Gyllenhaal is fabulous as Jimmy, a charmed innocent who grew up viewing the world from a distance and inspires people with his purity and lack of cynicism. Once he leaves home in pursuit of love and experience, Jimmy could be an alien visiting Earth for the first time: Everything is new to him, wondrous and strange. This is a star-making performance: It's impossible not to respond to Gyllenhaal's sweetness, wide eyes and dazzling smile, or to imagine anyone whose looks or personality would be more perfectly suited to the role.'
'Equally brilliant is Swoosie Kurtz, who gives a wicked spin to Jimmy's sex- phobic, fiercely overprotective mother. Determined to keep her child clueless and celibate, Mrs. Livingston is prone to reading aloud from "Pinocchio" and improvising the ending: "And then Pinocchio touched the filthy whore who lived next door and died."'
When Jake read the script: '"I laughed out loud at the perversity of the script... It's funny, but it's also touching and warm. It's a beautiful love story, and it's a story about a boy finding himself." Gyllenhaal said the idea that the movie makes fun of such children is ridiculous. "They obviously haven't seen the movie," the actor said, "because the boy is the hero of the movie. The people who make fun of him in the film are shown to be idiots. If anything, I think the movie will help bring an awareness of the disease to people who never heard of it."'
Director Blair Hayes wanted Jake for the role on first sight: 'We literally saw hundreds of actors for the role, but when Jake walked in, Beau and I looked at each other and we knew," director Hayes said. "Jake has a way of immediately being sympathetic, lovable and cute. That was essential for any actor playing this role. But more important, Jake is able to play comedy and drama. In the hands of just a comedic actor, this part would come off as shtick, and that was the last thing we wanted. There are not many actors making films today who can pull off both comedy and drama like Jake. It's a Tom Hanks quality, and Jake already has it."'
And when you watch this film, it has to be with the commentary...
Jake is a theme of a new musical, Jason and Ben, currently being performed in NYC. The play is not getting particularly warm reviews but has a highlight: 'Cohen's songs are mostly fine, capable examples of 1990's Emo pop that would be better enjoyed outside of the show since nearly all of them lack theatricality. The score's lone attempt at humor, Ben's gushy tribute to the charms of Jake Gyllenhaal, is its clear highlight.' It's difficult to see the fault in anything that includes a gushy tribute to Jake Gyllenhaal. So that's a 10 out of 10 from me and I don't even need to see it...
Includes pictures from IHJ and links.