Wet Dark and Wild

Movie making risks: ‘It’s a person’s choice to see a movie’
Back at the tailend of 2005, Jake Gyllenhaal’s career took another shift of direction, rewarding audiences with more sides to Jake the actor. The Day After Tomorrow had been a surprise to some, and now, the three-setter of Wet Dark and WildBrokeback Mountain, Jarhead and Proof, would surprise and astound many. The success of the first two in particular must have given Jake a wealth of those pinch-me moments that he’s spoken about.

Here is a Q&A; that Jake conducted with the Orange County Register a few days before Jake’s 25th birthday. In it, Jake talks about the demise of Buff Jake, why Brokeback never fails to make people cry and how risktaking shapes a career and leads to these changes in direction.

‘OCR: 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 Wet Dark and Wildsitting in hotel rooms talking endlessly about them.
OCR: And I imagine you stopped lifting?
GYLLENHAAL: I stopped lifting weights and started running a lot.’

‘OCR: Congratulations on the strong opening weekend of “Jarhead.” How do you think “Brokeback Mountain” is going to play to mainstream audiences?
GYLLENHAAL: I don’t know. But journalists seem to be moved by it. I even had one journalist apologize for referring to it as “the gay cowboy movie” before he saw it.
OCR: Is that “gay cowboy movie” moniker a problem?
GYLLENHAAL: I think everybody has made a judgment on it, whether they’re people who support it and are excited about it coming out, or they’re people who think it’s something other than what it is. It elicits a real mixed bag of emotion, but most of it is positive. A lot of people tell me they cried when they saw it.
OCR: Why did they cry?
GYLLENHAAL: I think they feel that the movie gives a real sense of what love is, what intimacy is and how complicated it all is. It’s about loss and regret and compassion. I think people are moved by that.’

Wet Dark and Wild
‘OCR: Are you hoping it doesn’t scare some other people?
GYLLENHAAL: No, I hope it scares people.
OCR: What if it scares them so much that they won’t go to see it?
GYLLENHAAL: I know that some people are going to have a big problem with it, and that’s OK. That’s the nature of the way things are.
OCR: And that doesn’t bother you?
GYLLENHAAL: Not at all. I understand. I had friends who said they couldn’t see “Jarhead” because war movies upset them. I’m not going to force them to see anything by telling them it’s a different kind of a war movie. It’s a person’s choice to see a movie. People have issues, and can’t get past them. I’m not going to pass judgment on those people.
OCR: Do you consider “Brokeback Mountain” a risky career move?
GYLLENHAAL: My whole thing is that if a role isn’t risky, why do it?’

‘OCR: Speaking of risks, what was a nice indie actor like you doing in a big studio disaster movie?
GYLLENHAAL: I love those kind of movies. It was fun. But I also think it was political. I see something political in every movie I do.
OCR: Did you catch any flak from your actor friends?
GYLLENHAAL: Oh yeah. Some of them said, “How could you do such a thing?”
OCR: What did you say to them?
GYLLENHAAL: 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.’

Includes pictures from IHJ.
[Updated] Summer Knights – A journey into the past – and Jake reruns the Chilmark Road Race
Summer returned today and with it came brave knights, mighty steeds, billowing standards, thundering hooves and smashing blades, all washed down with fruity pimms.

It all reminded me of some things.

Includes pictures from IHJ and WDW.

Update: We were wondering if Jake would run the Chilmark Road Race again today. Well, yes he did and the results are in (with a big thanks to BBMISwear :-)). No sign of Chris this time.

‘Jake Gyllenhaal #595, NY, Age: 28 Gender: M, 20:43, Distance 5K, Clock Time 20:43.4, Overall Place 53 / 1500, Gender Place 50 / 774, Division Place 26 / 115, Age Grade 62.3%, Sextotal 774, Divtotal 115, Pace 6:41’
Jake’s Philly set vist, a bunch of salads, and back on MV?
On 3 August, Jake Gyllenhaal visited Reese on set in Philadelphia. The upside of that is we get to see a photo of Jake that’s bigger than 2cm squared, the downside is a whole lot of mesh. But, mesh or no mesh, it’s good to see Jake again and it gives us a chance to inspect those growing sideburns.

The set visit also gave Jake a well-earned break from salad shopping: Jake was ‘just in Bacchus Market at 2300 Spruce. His order? “A bunch of salads,” says our source, “but he did splurge on some tuna. He left in some SUV-looking thing with a bunch of tweens running after him.”’ Tweens?

But as for where Jake is today, one tweeter has hinted that Jake may be back on his favourite holiday island of Martha’s Vineyard.

Many thanks to Only Good Movies for using WDW as the Jarhead source for their 75 War Movies to See Before You Die feature.

Includes pictures from IHJ.
Conflict, instinct, no regrets – Jake Gyllenhaal and Jack Twist
It might not be a Sunday, my usual day for Brokeback posts, but after a stormy day of thunder, lightning and flooding rain (seriously, TDAT had nothing on today), I’m in the mood to wallow in Jake Gyllenhaal reminiscing about the choices – conflicts – that have shaped his career, leading him to Jack Twist.

An interview from the Hartford Courant, published on Christmas Day 2005. ‘”In every creative thing, I have an initial instinctual response… When I read this, and knowing Ang Lee was going to make it, I thought I had to do it. Then I thought about it some more, but I had no fear about it.”‘

‘Although it is Ledger who is being talked up as an Oscar nominee, Gyllenhaal provides the story’s more obvious emotional center. Both men pursue conventional lives by marrying and having children. The softer Gyllenhaal has one toe of his boot peeking out of the closet. He seeks paid male companionship south of the border and has other dalliances, while the tension of desire stays coiled in Ledger’s jaw throughout. The pair’s passion evolves into a ‘Same Time, Next Year’ rendezvous in the woods. It’s a furlough from society’s expectations on the pretense of a fishing trip.’

‘”I don’t believe necessarily that these two characters are gay… They have a homosexual relationship, but I don’t know if they’re gay.” Reminded that Jack constantly seeks relationships with men, the actor backs off. “I think that’s true in the story but that’s not how I thought about it… I think he’s just somebody who’s dying for that same connection, like when we look for somebody who looks likes the person we just broke up with when they’ve broken our heart. He’s looking for someone who feels the same, like when Ennis turns his wife around and has sex like he would with Jack.”‘

‘Gyllenhaal stares out at the smog draping the skyline. “You could argue that my character is openly gay. I feel like he’s having a more literal response to the love affair.” The conversation turns toward the belief in some circles that everyone is bisexual on some level, one of the notions bandied about since the film knocked out audiences at Toronto and Venice festivals last fall. “I don’t think so… I think that relationships are relative and sexuality is relative. Everybody has different interests and perversions. Everybody’s different. I think what this movie does is deconstruct any idea of sameness. What’s similar in all of us is that we’re different.”‘

‘All three of the principals — Lee, Gyllenhaal and Ledger — sought redemption in Brokeback. Lee’s attempt to imbue 2002’s The Hulk with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon artistry failed critically and financially. Ledger (A Knight’s Tale) has said he deliberately tried to tank his career so he could rebuild it on his own terms. And Gyllenhaal found his try at blockbuster filmmaking on The Day After Tomorrow unsatisfying. “I always have conflicts… Whatever happens in the process of making the movie, as long as it’s a collaboration and, even if there’s fighting or whatever, as long as everyone is in, that’s OK. Chris Cooper once told me, ‘Don’t regret anything in the process because that’s all that you have as an actor.'”‘

Includes pictures from IHJ. Article from WDW’s Dusty Archives (as ever, if anyone wants a pdf of the article, just email me).
Dining out, drawing Jake and no more Donnie Darkos… EVER
Jake Gyllenhaal is a man with a mission – to continue his Dining with Jake Good Food Guide by dining out at every restaurant in Philadelphia. Last night, Jake and Reese were seen eating with Paul Rudd at the Marathon grill. The menu demonstrates that the cost of a three course meal at the Marathon will buy you a small piece of fruit in Oxford. Here you can see a tiny photo of the diners, showing that the Hat is Back.

Monday night was sushi night and the Hat got another outing. Jake and Reese were seen ‘at Morimoto on Chestnut Street. Gyllenhaal kept his hat on through a two-hour meal that started with a beer flight for him and a glass of wine for Witherspoon. Then they went maki-wild, sharing spicy tuna maki, California maki, spicy salmon maki and yellowtail maki before segueing into sake sashimi, hotate sashimi, and saba sashimi. And a side of rice.’ It’s a well-known and oft-repeated truism that you can never have enough maki. One glance at the website reveals intriguing furniture.

As for tonight – can I recommend fish, chips, mushy peas, a pineapple fritter and a

Comic-Con continued

Comic-Con may be over but more details are emerging about the Prince of Persia graphic novel panel: Artist ‘Stewart said that he was assured from the beginning by editor Nachie Castro that this book wouldn’t be a typical movie tie-in. “I asked Nachie, ‘Is this going to be micro-managed? Does every drawing have to look like Jake Gyllenhaal?’ He said no. One of things interesting is there are all these different artists with different interpretations. I think that’s cool, it’s going to make it very different than a typical movie tie-in.”’

‘He said no’! I shake my head in bewilderment at Disney missing the point – of course every picture should look like Jake Gyllenhaal, and a good 50% should also include a water feature.

The movie itself didn’t make much of an appearance at Comic-Con – bar some mini figures and a random ostrich. Disney’s Head of Production, Oren Aviv, was asked why: ‘”Prince of Persia” just didn’t have the effects done, so to bring stuff that wasn’t quite ready, we just all agreed, “Let’s wait until we’re ready and then when we’ve got the stuff, let’s show it.” I think in both cases [referring also to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice], I think your instinct is right is my belief, I think this stuff is so cool, but it’s unfinished, so we didn’t want to risk showing it here or anywhere else until it’s ready.”

However, there is much more chance of a showing next month at Disney’s Expo D23: ‘D23 members will also get advance looks at two spectacular live-action fantasy films from Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films — Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (with Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Atherton) and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (starring Nicolas Cage).’

And finally…

‘MTV News got a chance to sit down with Kelly and find whether there is any truth to that. “Absolutely not,” he said. “I know nothing about it and I would never have any involvement with any existing or future sequel to ‘Donnie Darko’ ever—ever!” And to make it absolutely clear, he added: “Never ever ever ever would I be involved with anything like that.”

So, is that a no?

Includes pictures from IHJ and Cathy Kanavy.

Happy birthday Stephanie!
Jake Gyllenhaal’s first steps: ‘Who wants to cast a kid from nowhere?’
We’re spacebound tonight, travelling back in time, to take a look at Jake Gyllenhaal at the beginning of his adult career, when he overcame illness and parental concerns to win over the producers of October Sky. Jake’s determination to win that role and achieve his dreams – and his modest surprise that he was able to do so – are told through his own words, from two early interviews, dating to 1998 and 1999. ‘It’s really incredible that people can have this much faith in me to do this.’

First, back to 1998: ‘ “To tell the truth, it’s nothing like I expected,” says Gyllenhaal. “Dreams when they become reality are nothing like the dreams.”And for Gyllenhaal, working as an actor is definitely is his dream come true. “It’s been my dream since I was really small — since I could breathe,” he says. “I’ve felt ever since I was young that this is my calling.”‘

Jake ‘was signed by his parents’ agency — but only after agents witnessed his talent in a performance of “West Side Story” — and he began doing auditions “every other day,” stopping only when he got the lead in “The Rocket Boys” in January. Not surprisingly, Gyllenhaal’s casting in the film has three acts: Act I: Next Please. Gyllenhaal misses out on the first round of auditions because he is sick. “I had mono,” he says. “I was about to go in, and I threw up.” Act II: Thank Your Lucky Stars. His agent calls him on Thanksgiving Day with news that he’ll be allowed to audition when other actors go in for their callbacks. He does his reading for producers Charles Gordon and Larry Franco, director Joe Johnston and casting director Nancy Foy. “Somehow, Homer and I just clicked at that point,” he says. “I’d been reading with my father, but I never got it until then.” Act III: We’ll Get Back to You. While Johnston wants him for the role, the studio doesn’t. The solution, eventually, lies in screen tests a month later. “Who wants to cast a kid from nowhere?” says Gyllenhaal. “It was interesting going into meetings and talking with executives about why I wanted to do the part.” (For the Brits, ‘Mono’ is like Glandular Fever.)

‘”In my mind, I was saying, ‘I have to do this,’ ” he says. One day in January, he walked into his house and found his father in the kitchen. “He said, ‘Jake, I want you to go to college. I want you to have four years of college.’ It was his roundabout way of telling me. Finally, he said, ‘You got the part.’ Two months of waiting ended there, but I had no idea what I was getting into.” On the one hand, “It’s the most incredible education — life education — I could have,” he says. On the other, “It’s lonely. All my friends that I’ve grown up with and gone to school six years with are on the other side of the country.”‘

‘With tutors, costumers, makeup artists and other crew members constantly demanding his attention, “the only free time is lunch hour,” says Gyllenhaal, who has used his day or two off per week visiting Cumberland Mountain State Park, Asheville, Rugby and even West Town Mall. Even though he’d grown up on film sets, he wasn’t aware of how much work was involved in making a movie. He marvels at the skill his co-workers bring. “Everybody’s doing their best,” Gyllenhaal says. “I love that.” He learned one aspect of filmmaking quickly. “The waiting part is what I do best and do the most,” he chuckles’

Of the hoopla that can surround hot young actors: ‘”I’ve always been taught not to think too much of it,” he says. “I’ve grown up around all of this. I’m only in it for the acting. Eventually, it’s all that can keep you stable.”‘

‘He credits his stage training and his theater teacher, Ted Walch, with grounding him. “You can just tell when an actor is from the theater or started in film,” he says. “There’s a sense of professionalism or maybe a little bit more responsibility. My analogy is, it’s better to be a skier before you’re a snowboarder. I know a lot of snowboarders who just rush down the hill. But if you’ve learned to ski first, you know the hill and the terrain and you respect it.”‘

‘”There’s something about the seasons that should come with a college experience,” he says with a grin. “I’ve experienced that here. When I left Los Angeles it was summer; here it was snowing. It got me ready for the college experience.” While he’s playing a character, not himself, in “The Rocket Boys,” he says there are similarities. “The passion that he had for making his rockets, I have for acting,” Gyllenhaal says. “It’s the unexplainable thing that gets you through the day, past whatever obstacles you encounter.”‘

And now to 1999: ‘”I think that there are experiences in your life — and they’re very short — where you feel like something is going through you and that you have really no control,” says Gyllenhaal. “I mean, sure, you’re a vehicle, but you don’t really have control. There’ve been times like that where I’ve been on the stage or I’ve been working with actors like Chris Cooper or Laura Dern or Debra Winger or Robin Williams or Billy Crystal, and you get that feeling — whether it’s for a split second or whether it’s for a few seconds.”

‘”Being an actor, you tend to try and bring something of yourself into the character,” says Gyllenhaal, who spent most of the second semester of his high-school senior year shooting “October Sky” in East Tennessee last year. “So to do service to the true story, I think you have to compare with the real guy.”‘

‘In addition to coaching the young actor on “rocket lingo,” Hickam “tried to explain and portray to me what was going on at certain times and why it went on, with his father especially, and sort of kept me in the groove when I felt like I was falling out of it sometimes,” Gyllenhaal tells reporters gathered for an interview at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Los Angeles. Not only was Hickam a mentor to him on the set, he continues to be “an inspiration even in everyday life,” says Gyllenhaal, who maintains a long-distance friendship with Huntsville, Ala.-based Hickam.’

And then there comes the strange experience of watching your film with your family and witnessing the suspended belief mixed with pride. ‘”It’s so strange because they watch the movie, and it’s as if it’s actually me,” he says. “Like, when the science fair is won, they hugged me. I couldn’t actually connect. They could, obviously. But I couldn’t make any connection between me and what they were experiencing.”‘

Articles (from The Knoxville News-Sentinel) from WDW Archives. Includes pictures from IHJ.
The light and the dark – Big Bird and Zombies
Big Bird is forty and he’s having a big birthday party – Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal will be among those playing pass the parcel with the Cookie Monster and eating trifle. The fortieth season, this coming winter, is set to include some treats that will do good to those of us who grew up with Sesame Street: ‘Celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, Kobe Bryant, Jason Mraz, Jimmy Fallon and siblings Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal’ will pop up. I’m also hoping for a repeat of Desperate Houseplants.

Probably, Jake and Maggie also had an attachment to Sesame Street as children – their mother Naomi was there right at the beginning as a producer: ‘I was a producer at Sesame Street. And then The Electric Company. And then I spent a year in the UK researching an American version of Upstairs Downstairs.’ Note how I’m not drawing attention to the fact that Naomi was involved in a dastardly plot to redo the finest British drama series of the Seventies and beyond.

The Electric Company, which is also getting a revamp, featured a recurring sketch ‘Love of Chair’. This included the not entirely comprehensible tagline of ‘What about Naomi?’. Who’d have thought that this Naomi would turn out to be the mother of the Prince of Persia?

And now for the dark side…

There’s been some interest in vampires of late, so much so that some writers of horror have rather taken against the pale-skinned vein suckers and are trying to get equal airtime for other uglies – the flesh eating undead or Zombies. Zombies were on the menu at Comic-Com and Scott Browne, the author of ‘Breathers: A Zombie Lament’ was at hand to discuss his dark comedy, which has been optioned.

Scott has pretty firm ideas about who he’d choose to play his ‘hero’ Andy and his unfortunate love interest: ‘I see Jake Gyllenhaal as Andy and Anne Hathaway as Rita, his love interest. And, well, Christopher Walken would have to be in the movie somewhere.’ As much as I’m enjoying the idea of Jake and Anne acting together in Love and Other Drugs and possibly in Damn Yankees, Zombies may be taking it a putrifying limp too far. More plot here.

But Jake hasn’t quite escaped the vampire craze. One novel, reviewed here, has consigned a whole bunch of famous figures to endless night, including Jake Gyllenhaal. Makes a change from Robert Pattinson, I suppose.

Talking of spooky, someone is going around the Kent town of Maidstone sticking up posters of a rather manic and crazed looking rabbit as a ‘social experiment’. The poster sticker’s name is Jonny Darko.

Includes pictures from IHJ.