Thursday, 10 February 2011

'Working with Jim was a beautiful mess' - Jim Sheridan celebrated

The Irish Film Institute in Dublin is currently hosting a season to celebrate the work of one of the country's most well-known and much-loved directors Jim Sheridan. At a screening of My Left Foot last week, its star, Daniel Day-Lewis was there to pay tribute to the man who allowed him to create such a career-defining first role with Christy Brown. Reading that, and hearing the kind words about Sheridan, I couldn't help but think of Jake Gyllenhaal's experience of working with Jim on Brothers, another example where the director has influenced and inspired Jake to take a role. And it gave Jake the chance to try out his Irish accent during press, of course.. A bonus.

Jake told the Telegraph that his sense of feeling more comfortable with himself - something he has commented on during the publicity for Love and Other Drugs - began with Brothers and working with Jim. 'He ignited something, which was like, 'You can be whatever you want or, if not, whatever you are is enough.''

But acting for Jim was not quite what Jake was used to (here in the Herald): 'Working with Jim was a beautiful mess... I am not sure what happened or how it came together, but it was a really interesting mess. One day there's a PA who he's brought over who brought coffee, and there she is sitting behind the monitor and he's asking her what she thinks of the scene! Then we're changing the dialogue according to what she thinks of the scene!'

'The next day, some guy he met on a plane he invites to the set and rewrites the dialogue for him! It's a whole real interesting mess with Jim, but it turns out to be a good result in the end, so...'

Jim told Natalie Portman in an interview for Making Of that he had some trouble working with Jake (and Natalie as well), getting these Hollywood actors to show the emotion he required of them. I remember we had quite a discussion about that here at the time! When reminded of this by the Herald, Jake had this to say:

'"What do you mean by that? I have great respect for Jim and it's important that you respect someone's work. The work is not always the same as who they are as a person and navigating that is always difficult and there are lots of different egos and personalities in this business," he says, seeming both hurt and defensive. "I don't mean to wear the fact that I like to challenge people as a badge of honour. I think that's something I've moved beyond."

'"I was born into the film industry and all of us grow up thinking we have a perspective on film-making that's different from the job. But only very recently I realised that film-making is a collaborative process. When I was younger I had an idea that I was the actor there to do the job. For somebody who's gotten to the place where they are directing or writing a movie, they have to have a pretty interesting personality to be doing that. So I realise now that I am in service of somebody else's vision and I think it's changed the whole situation."'

Telegraph again: "[Jim] walked up to me in the beginning of this movie, and he said [adopts Irish accent], 'Jake, I just want you to know, you're playing my little brother in the movie, so I'm going to have to hate you most of the time.' Honestly, he was like, 'I f------ hate you!' But clearly the process worked."

"I think that this movie is a journey, the journey that Tobey's character makes to get back home. It is intertwined with a lot of other family complications – this is a Jim Sheridan movie after all – but mostly it is about what this man does to get back to the people that he loves, and to his life."

Jim Sheridan was also responsible for the first great Sasquatch carnation. That's another matter altogether...

There were compensations, however.

Includes pictures from IHJ.

I saw True Grit tonight - at last out in the UK - you can read the review here.


Monica said...

There's a picture of Sasquatch in Batman The Dark Night.

Thank you for remembering the experience that Jake had to work with this great director.
My favorite of Jim Sheridan is In The Name of The Father.

Wet Dark and Wild said...

Hi Monica! It was really nice to spend some time writing about Tommy tonight :)

mermon said...

WDW - what a nice post, reminding us about Brothers - and interesting interviews.
The picture Of Jake and two little girls playing sisters in the movie is very cute. They played so good in that movie.
"Working with Jim was a beautiful mess," - from his description it really looked like a mess:)
I had no idea, that Jake and Jim went through quite uneasy time doing Brothers. That was interesting.
"... he says, seeming both hurt and defensive." - poor Jake!
I have mixed feelings about an interviews with Jim Sheridan. Though he was saying interesting things, he made me sleepy with a tone of his voice. Those things he said about Jake were interesting, but somehow strange, like he thought Jake was not able to play emotionally correctly - conflicted relationship with his father because of his happy family life? Did I understood it correctly? Maybe they had problems with understanding each other, but eventually the movie was good and Jake as Tommy was great, especially with kids and, right, in relationship with his movie father - Sam Shepard.

Wet Dark and Wild said...

Hi Monica! Thanks for that interesting comment :) I do like that picture of Jake with the two girls... I think Jim was saying something along the lines that Jake had problems showing anger. Although I didn't agree with that then and I don't now. It was a very different way of working for Jake. But it was particularly good to see Jake working with Natalie :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking memory lane. It was nice to hear how it was for them making Brothers

Thanks WDW

Wet Dark and Wild said...

Morning everyone! It's Friday :D

Thanks 22:28! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

Have a good day everyone!

BBMISwear said...

What a nice Brothers-filled post WDW! The publicity was so great with that movie - it was fun to revisit these bits. And now, of course, it has me thinking about SC publicity!

Happy Friday all. It's going to above 12 degrees farenheit - whoowhee!


LadyEkster said...

After the last pic in the post I'm reminded that no matter how short Source Code may be, it will have to include a shower scene. ;-)

"The work is not always the same as who they are as a person and navigating that is always difficult." Coming home after a heavy work week and reading that is really very beautiful. :) Thanks Jake and thanks WDW.

La Brulee said...

Thanks so much WWD for this awesome entry! Last night, before going to bed, my iTunes randomly selected an old interview with Jake on KCRW where besides picking some tunes, he talks about his work with Jim Sheridan! So when I woke up this morning and religiously visited your blog, I was like whoa! this is the Gyllenhaal Collective Unconscious!

These are the bits where he talks about Sheridan:

(Song: The River by Bruce Springsteen)
Actually, I just did this movie with Jim Sheridan called “Brothers” and randomly he picked this song “The River,” by Bruce Springsteen. He picked the live version. During rehearsals he would play it, and then he would play it on set too to get us in the mood of the scene, or he would play it in the middle of the scene. And so there’s this scene in the film where my brother has died and I am with his wife. We don’t get along very well, but as the movie has progressed we’ve started to get along better. We’re sitting together in front of a fire and we end up kissing at the end of the scene, which makes the movie very complex, and Jim decided to play this song, play “The River. And what he did after that was he kept the music rolling and Natalie Portman, who plays my brother’s wife in the movie, she leaves the scene. Jim kept the film rolling on and on and on and I just kept listening to this song and by the end of this take, I just start to cry and cry, I couldn’t stop crying. I think a lot of it has to do with, it’s connection to my family, listening to Bruce Springsteen when I was a kid with my dad. My first concert I ever went to was the Born in the USA tour concert and I remember being with my father. I just think the story between father and son and the complications between those two positions in a family has always been a huge thing in my life. That’s also the heart of the movie I was making with Jim Sheridan.

(Song: “A Father and A Son,” by Loudon Wainwright III)

Jim Sheridan would always liken everything back to his family. He’d say to me one day -imitates Jim Sheridan- ‘Jake! You know, you’re playing my brother in this movie so I’m gonna hate ya today. You know, this scene reminded me about my brother and I’m gonna hate ya today!’

I believe there are few things in life that you can guarantee are important and family is one of them. That’s what “Brothers” is about, that’s what a lot of these songs are about for me, and that’s what hopefully my life will be about.

mermon said...

@La Brulee said...Thank you for reminding that. I remember that, it was very warm interview with nice Jake's voice and the music of his choice, full of memories about his family.

Wet Dark and Wild said...

Hi La Brulee! And welcome! That was an amazing interview - the post for it is here. Sheridan always makes films about family and Brothers is a fine example :)

Hi Mermon!

I saw True Grit this evening - my /review is here

Eureka said...

Hi WDW and all!
I loved this post.
I like Brothers movie very much too. I didn't know about the trouble they had in understanding each other. Was it only with Jake?

The little girl playing the oldest niece was just amazing. She made me cry hard.
Tommy, black sheep Tommy. *sigh*

@Lady Ekster: I vote for the shower bit too. Even if it's a sci-fi one. ;o)

Wet Dark and Wild said...

I'm so glad, Eureka! I don't think it was just Jake - Jim was commenting on working with Hollywood actors and included Natalie. The little girl Bailee was incredible!

Wet Dark and Wild said...

Morning everyone! Lovely day so off out for a drive into the countryside :) Have a good Saturday.

mermon said...

I've peeked to that older post about Brothers and radio interview. It was good post, thank you for that link - WDW.
Have a nice weekend, everybody. In Cracow is beautiful weather, very sunny day!
Yesterday I went to LAOD Polish premiere, I took a picture of movie poster, you can take a look, if you want.
LAOD Polish poster
It was good to see Jake and Anne on big screen. There were only 26 people in the cinema, but they responded very well, laughing at the right moment, mostly couples, 3 singles and two older women together (Jake's fans?). The weather was very bad, with rain and low pressure. I went only for Jake, otherwise, I would stayed home.

mermon said...

I found a better version of Polish poster, without my date stamp :), I have also French and some Eastern - Chineese or Japan, I don't recognize the language :)
Polish poster
French poster
Eastern poster

La Brulee said...

Thanks for the warm welcome, mermon and WWD! I'm glad you enjoyed the bits, aren't they great??? That interview is so cool, I love it every time Jake changes his voice to imitate someone's (his dad, his mom, Sheridan …. and recently Anne Hathaway and that MTV interviewer that according to Jake sounded like a pervert, hahaha!) I suggest to create an entry inspired on that!

Talking about Love and Other Drugs and what mermom said about her experience in the theater, something funny happened in here (Madrid) when me and my sister went to see the premiere. It was a Friday afternoon (3:30 pm) subtitled version (we mostly have dubbed version theaters in here, which is awful) so there were only 9 of us: two girls, one old lady, three gays, a guy behind us and the two of us enjoying Jake's splendor on BIG SCREEN.

We were so hooked that we decided to repeat the experience the very next day: a 12:00 am matinee at the same place….. and amazingly we were almost the SAME PEOPLE! All of us but the guy behind us.
So we looked at each other like "do I know you???" And pretended we didn't. We all felt a bit obsessive … in a positive way! hahaha

Can't wait for LAOD Blu Ray to come out …. Today Amazon emailed me saying that it was happy (so am I !)to inform me that the item I requested is now available to pre-order from and that it will be available on May 9th ….

Have a great weekend you all!!!

mermon said...

@La Brulee - you had funny and interesting experience with LAOD watching. I wonder if those people were charmed by the movie itself and wanted to see it again, or were they Jake's or Anne's fans. Whatever - it was nice.
I wonder how did you recognized those three gays? :)

La Brulee said...

Now that we are alone :P I'll tell you that, despite how charming the movie was, those people -me and my sis included- were there FOR JAKE! For the feast for the eyes that contemplating this creature in motion is!!! We were an amusing audience, I must say: whispers, nudges and sighs every time something "interesting" happened on screen.

I guess we all came back the following day in part because it was a really cute flick and mainly because the shock of seeing him in such a sexy role made us miss some details that deserved to be seen .... ahem ... from a scientist's perspective, of course.

And well, answering to your question regarding why did I know that the three guys were gays ... well. you should have heard them HOWLING at Jake's nudity!!! Woo hooo!!!! It's cake ;)

mermon said...

@La Brulee - Now, that we are still alone :P - I like the way you write! It's so funny. After your last comment I am able to picture that LAOD screening perfectly!
Three guys howling around Jake's nudity in the dark cinema. I can imagine that. What a particular screening.
At mine was only a lot of laughter.

Wet Dark and Wild said...

Just great to hear about your LAOD viewings, Mermon and la Brulee! I love the idea of the same people coming back again to get another look. Can't say I blame them...

Back home after a mega packed day! Enjoyed the sun before the rain tomorrow...

mermon said...

I hope your day was packed with only nice staff - WDW.
In Poland was opposite - on Friday - big rain and rather warm, and today great sun, but chilly and windy.
So have a rest tomorrow.

Wet Dark and Wild said...

Thanks, Mermon! It was :) Big rain due here tomorrow unfortunately. I put a post up.