Call it feminine intuition if you like, but I detect that Jake Gyllenhaal may have got rather muscular for Prince of Persia. It's become a talking point for PoP - for Brokeback Mountain the famous question was 'What's it like to kiss a guy?', for Brothers it was 'Have you ever been mistaken for Spider-man?' and now for Prince of Persia it's 'How did you get so buff?'. Going off on a tangent, I suppose the question for Zodiac was 'Would they have caught him if they'd had mobile phones?' and for Rendition 'Is torture ever a good thing?' For Source Code it could be 'Did you ever suffer from deja vu?' I can only imagine what it'll be for Love and Other Drugs.
So, to get back on track... Jake's five pounds of muscle have attracted some attention in the media, both as an object of delight and as a demonstration that you too can get huge muscles if you work out for five hours everyday and eat nothing but tuna. Jake's ability to build on the weight and then shed it as required - something he has done twice now - surely earns Jake the right to make a bestselling Christmas DVD. In the meantime, Jake must make do with being marvelled at as the Prince of Persia excitement grows.
Today Men's Fitness Magazine picked Jake as one of its 25 fittest 25 male celebrities. Previously, Empire has contrasted Jake the cartoonist with Jake the all-leaping videogame Prince. A trifle unfair perhaps, especially as David Fincher stood over Jake's arms with a tape measure to ensure that each lost every single one of the ten pounds that Jake wore so well in Jarhead:
Orange County Register asked: 'Where's buff Jake? JAKE GYLLENHAAL: Buff Jake's gone. Fincher told me I had to lose 10 pounds on each arm because I'm playing a cartoonist. OCR: How sad. GYLLENHAAL: Yeah, it was emasculating. I really enjoyed being buff. OCR: How do you get un-buff? GYLLENHAAL: Have two movies come out in less than a month, and you'll lose the weight out of sheer excitement and sitting in hotel rooms talking endlessly about them. OCR: And I imagine you stopped lifting? GYLLENHAAL: I stopped lifting weights and started running a lot.'
And to the question about what Indie Jake told his friends about why he had had done The Day After Tomorrow (as if thinness equals cerebral and muscly arms equals special effects): 'I told them that I think Robert De Niro is a genius in "Raging Bull," but I also think Will Smith is a genius in "Independence Day." Good acting is good acting; it doesn't matter what kind of a movie it is. A movie that makes a lot of money can be as rewarding as a movie that doesn't make any money.' More from this interview here.
IHJ has just posted some wonderful pictures from a Robert Graysmith character photoshoot for Zodiac and they do indeed highlight the contrast between this Jake and the aggressive and powerful Swoff and the dashing and leaping Prince who has to have extra arm room cut out of his armour.
One reason for Jake choosing to switch movie types to make Prince of Persia was that it gave him the chance to test new muscles and not just the one in his head: '"I'd come off a lot of films that were very character driven and I had exercised all those muscles, it was time to try something else. It's so much fun to just run around and fight. It's like what I always dreamed of doing when I thought about being an actor as a little kid. And then I made all these movies where I was like... I mean, I like all the stories I made, but I've always wanted to do this. It's a legitimate action movie!"'
'The 'Brokeback Mountain' star spent six months in the gym training for the part but said he wasn't just doing it to "look good". He told Empire magazine: "How did I get so big? In order to be a warrior fighting in all these scenes and to actually fight with these people and have legitimate fun in the movie, it required six months of pretty heavy training, as if I were fighting, as if I were running on walls, as if I were jumping up and down and grabbing things. I mean, it was really fun stuff."'
Jake has demonstrated that he is able to transform himself completely for a role, way beyond simply gaining/losing muscle and weight. The lean fitness of Douglas Freeman became the dominating power and bulk of Tommy Cahill, which, in turn, was strengthened and trained into Dastan. Despite Jake's claims that he would soon be fat and happy, there has been little sign of that, with Jake quickly becoming again the fit and slender Jake that we are familiar with and who will be seen on screen in Love and Other Drugs and Source Code. Damn Yankees, if that is next, may require another adaptation. But for Jake this is all part of the discipline of making a new character fit like a fine suit.
Richard Coyle plays Jake's older brother Tus in Prince of Persia and HeyUGuys asked him about the film at the Jameson Empire Awards afterparty last night: 'Richard Coyle (The Libertine, Coupling) shared his sentiments telling us how happy he was at Ian McKellen’s win. We also had a chance to talk to him about his recent experience on The Prince of Persia. He confided that the contrast between the “tough, tough, desert shoot” and the “impressive final product” was “amazing”. He had only recently seen the finished film and was blown away by how good it was and “proud, very proud” of his work on the film.'
Totally offtopic, I went out for a constitutional today and ended up going back into the mists of time...
Doctor Parnassus is out on DVD in the UK today.
Pictures with thanks from IHJ, Empire and here and WDW.