UPDATE! Enjoy a sneak peek at Jake’s appearance on Ellen this coming Monday!
On with the post.
Aren’t Torontonians the luckiest folks? They had Jake shooting ENEMY in Toronto in May 2012, again they had the chance to see him (and the film!) at TIFF in September 2013, and in a few weeks they’ll have the fortune to see him (and the film!) during Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival in January, when Enemy will be screened and followed by an onstage discussion with Jake alongside Denis Villeneuve. Definitely lucky people. Not that I’m jealous or anything.
A good occasion to recap what frustratingly little information we have about this “ [...] very sinister, disturbing, probably one of the weirdest looks at Toronto but totally recognizable in a lot of ways” film.
We’ve got the poster
We’ve got two clips
We’ve got an official Twitter account
— Enemy (@EnemyLaPelicula) December 5, 2013
And an official Facebook page
We’ve got a Decalogue para que tu experiencia con ENEMY sea completa (read carefully)
(google can help if you don’t speak Spanish)
We’ve got (a selection of) reviews
Enemy is pure menace and manipulation, a look at the objectification of women, an examination of the male ego and the want for control, all accompanied by a steady, rumbling score from Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans and the dark and dreary cinematography of Nicolas Bolduc, painting a grey and amber aura over the city of Toronto and the life of this troubled man.
Enemy is a film you won’t want to watch on your own. You’ll want to absorb as much as you can and take what you’ve learned and order the chaos with others. [source]
Handling the highly complicated dual roles with aplomb, Gyllenhaal’s on fire throughout Enemy—the controlled ways in which he separates the men by their individual eccentricities are quite extraordinary. [source]
Thick with weighty themes, disquieting portent and anxious tension, Villeneuve—the Foreign Language Academy-Award nominated director of “Incendies”—crafts a gripping slow burn portrait of the male id/ego, our self-destructive tendencies and how they control us. Deeply in sync with his director’s tenebrous dream, Gyllenhaal obviously carries the entire film on his shoulders, and he delivers with a smoldering internalized performance of torment that is easily his finest work. The conflicted men are distinct, but it’s the nuanced, strange similarities between them and their own personal agonies that make for a remarkably committed turn by the young actor. [source]
Final Verdict: With a narrative that is weird yet wonderful, it may certainly divide audiences, however Enemy is a film that should be celebrated for stepping outside of the conventional and commanding its own kind of attention. Jake Gyllenhaal is so great here, defining with body language, diction, and attitude two distinctly different people and never blurring the line between then. What could easily have been an exercise in overacting, is an acting triumph for an actor not really known to take on such eccentric material. Gyllenhaal is set up to carry this film, and he does it so well and with such ease. [source]
Lending his captivating screen presence to every scene, a bearded, intense Gyllenhaal capably plays the two very different men at the centre of the story—the stuttering, shuffling history professor and the motorcycle-riding masculine actor. And the film playfully switches back and forth between the two, where at certain points, it’s unclear which is which. Indeed, it’s rare to find a movie these days that so boldly withholds from its audience and defies their expectations. While some may be frustrated by this obfuscation, others will find it inspired. [source]
And the mindfuck:
REVIEW: There are so many things that are interesting aboutENEMY, not the least of which is the fact that it’s director Denis Villeneuvesecond film to play TIFF this year, with PRISONERS being the other. To watchENEMY, you’d never know that the same guy directed both movies. PRISONERS is a sweeping, epic thriller, with heavy doses of terror and heartbreaking drama.ENEMYon the other hand is a ninety-minute mindf**k that evokes a weird hybrid of the two David’s; Cronenberg and Lynch. [source]
We’ve got a few on set photos, as well as screen shots
What we DON’T have, is the patience to wait for this movie to be released.
A few release dates:
ITALY 13 December 2013 (Courmayeur Noir in Festival)
UK 7 February 2014
SPAIN 28 February 2014
And because you know how much Brokeback Mountain means to me, a reminder that today in 2005, this wonderful movie premiered in NYC (thank you, Diana)
— GYLLENCRAZY (@GYLLENCRAZY) December 6, 2013
Thanks to the magnificent IHJ for the complete ElleMenChina photo-shoot. Honestly, could he look any hotter? (maybe with a longer beard, but I’m enjoying the stubble, too).
And another ‘just because’, because Skyping with Jake must be every fan’s wet dream (mine for sure).
I didn’t particularly enjoy the bit about buying an Oscar but maybe it’s just the sore spot I have for Brokeback Mountain talking here. I also wish Jake would have just said once and for all that yes, there are indeed homophobic pricks in the Academy but that’s just wishful thinking and we love our guy just the same.
I was informed last week of the untimely and sudden death of my dearest, sweetest TwitterQueen and this shocking news left me dumbfounded. I had to take some time to let it sink.
She was @mermon7 on Twitter. Recently I had given her the nickname of TwitterQueen for her unrelenting search for everything Jake on social media, but her name was Marzena and she was a lovely girl, generous, altruistic, always joyful and full of life. Today her young daughter, her family and her friends have gathered to pay their last respects to our girl and I wish at least one of us were there to show all her loved ones how deeply our little community of Jake Gyllenhaal fans has been affected by this tragedy and how Marzena managed to touch our hearts and make us love her even if none of us had never met her in person.
And still I’m speechless. I wanted to tweet and post about Jake, something I haven’t been doing a lot lately anyway, but I couldn’t make myself do it. I guess it’ll take a while. Knowing that Marzena will no longer comment on my posts like she used to do makes it impossible.
Thus for now, in loving memory of our beloved friend and fierce Jake Gyllenhaal fan, I’ll share some random comments she posted in my blog. I have read them all more than once these days. It helped some.
And sadly, her last
I know guys, it’s been a long while. I’m not a reliable blogger but someone’s got to pay the bills and my cat couldn’t be bothered…She just sits there every morning at the crack of dawn when I’m ready to go to work with that puzzled where-do-you-go-every-morning-anyway face. Then I glance back at her before shutting the door and she’s wearing a bored whatever-just-bring-food face. Cats. Gotta love them.
Anyway, I know I haven’t been around for the Prisoners big parade but I was a) busy taking a vacation in New York, thank you very much and b) sucked into an endless series of deadlines the likes of which I haven’t seen often during my career so I apologize – not for the first time and I’m afraid not for the last – for having neglected this blog.
The David Poland 30 minutes interview for Prisoners, I could listen to him talking for hours.
Sorry but no, I won’t discuss his weight loss for his new movie ‘Nightcrawler’, there are enough people doing it already. I’ll just say this: hello?, it’s for A ROLE!
There’s definitely something about Jake in black & white. The whole teasing with finger-inside-t-shirt-neck is getting old, though, or maybe it’s just me. I believe Jake could find many other ways to tease us but I’m digressing. And kidding. Anyway, here’s the photo shoot for the 10th Anniversary of VMAN magazine and Elliot David’s article (courtesy of VMAN).
JAKE GYLLENHAAL ON CONSCIOUSNESS, CRAFT, AND THE SEARCH FOR EXPERIENCE
It’s been raining, and the truck is trying to hit full speed from a dead stop, spitting earth and gravel at the limitations of torque and physics. The words “I’m not gonna let this motherfucker get away” are running through Jake Gyllenhaal’s mind as he gets dragged, one hand on the tailgate, about the length of a first down. Thing is, nobody on the set of his next film, Prisoners, told him to do this: not director Denis Villeneuve, not the guy behind the wheel (Hugh Jackman), not even himself. But it’s what would have been true.
In the film, the driver of the truck is a father pursuing his child’s abductor and Jake plays a detective set on—in this moment—preventing homicidal vigilantism. If this wasn’t fiction—if the father was real, if the cop was real, if the kidnapped children were real—the truck is there, so he’d grab the truck. “So I grabbed the truck, he drove off, and I just held on. Everyone was like, ‘Oh my god!’ And I said, ‘Did you get that? That was crazy.’ And it wasn’t even in the frame.”
It’s not the decisions you make but the decisions you witness yourself act upon that reveal your real nature. A glimpse of the subconscious can articulate identity at its core. So the question is: how do you manifest that? Jake Gyllenhaal loves this question. And so he ends up getting dragged by a truck, out of frame, without even realizing what he’s doing.
“I was searching for an experience. I was looking for an experiment,” he tells me over beers at Spain bar in the West Village, legendary authentic shithole for the New School writer and philosopher set. He’s referring to his motivation to sign on to Enemy, directed by Denis Villeneuve, with whom Jake would immediately work again on Prisoners. “I needed something way out of the box and I didn’t know what that was necessarily, and I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for. I feel like that’s always a good place for me. Whenever I’m not sure what I’m looking for, I always find something interesting.”
With the September release of Prisoners, and Enemy about to make the festival circuit, Jake is well into his second decade of filmmaking. His Hollywood heritage has been rehashed a hundred times, but quickly: son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe–awarded screenwriter Naomi Foner, Jake and his sister, Maggie (both of whom have Oscar nominations themselves), grew up around a top tier of actors and filmmakers like Sidney Lumet, Steven Soderbergh, and Paul Newman. “I come from a family of people who make films,” he says. “When I think about the most important thing I took away from my family, it’s the idea of the power of a story, and the influence that it can have in all of its many forms. I believe there’s nothing that can make you discover what love is more than a story.”
Jake began acting at the age of 11. Child stardom is a masticator of identity from which few have gone unconsumed and fewer still have gone on to find artistic or professional success, both of which Jake has maintained since the beginning. The 32-year-old has been one of Hollywood’s most cherished leading men since the turn of the millennium. After breaking out in 2001 with Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly’s quintessential teen-angst tale of metaphysical wanderlust in the 1980s, Jake began amassing an oeuvre of personally and culturally challenging films created almost exclusively with auteurs, legendary writers, and co-stars all attempting to progress their own artistic output and the limits of their medium. Jake seems to draw out an experimentalist nature in his collaborators—iconic directors have done some of their most exploratory and refined work with him: Ang Lee was awarded his first Oscar with Brokeback Mountain; Sam Mendes’s adaptation of Anthony Swofford’s cult memoir, Jarhead, gracefully imbues Gulf War ennui and Camusian existentialism with visceral tension by focusing solely on the perspective of Jake’s character rather than anything geopolitical. Zodiac arguably marks Fincher’s graduation from bombastic punk to a subtle and harrowing master of the psychological. Jim Sheridan broke a four-year silence to work with Jake in an adaptation of Susanne Bier’s Brothers. And Denis Villeneuve has created something in Prisoners that is even more powerful than the gut-wrenching tragedy that is Incendies, his 2010 Best Foreign Oscar–nominated film, which firmly established Villeneuve as a crucial voice in a new generation of emerging visionaries, like Jeff Nicholas, Shane Carruth, and Steve McQueen. “Jake Gyllenhaal inspires me,” Villeneuve tells me over e-mail while putting the finishing touches to the films. “When he is in front of my camera, I feel I can push boundaries.”
Since 2003, seven of Jake’s ten films have been helmed by Oscar-winning or -nominated directors, and his own nomination for Brokeback in 2005 marks the last time a male actor under 25 was bestowed that recognition. As well known as he is for these roles, Jake is equally celebrated for being an early practicioner of a now well-respected method of working: not working. He’s been making films at a rate of about one per year. Compare that to his omnipresent contemporaries like Ryan Gosling or Channing Tatum—brilliant actors capable of great depth, no doubt, but a subconscious byproduct of our oversaturation with them is a sensitivity to their existence as actors while on-screen; the act of their acting becomes increasingly difficult to un-see. Jake’s selectivity (and unpredictability) might enable the audience to connect to his characters on a deeper level. Plus, it makes sense that his approach is an anti-approach, to aimlessly wander until a project strikes intuitive passion and offers a window into himself. Because, at this point, what’s left for him to do but go further inward, having done laps around an industry he was born into.
“As a young actor, you come up, but you take what you can get. You fight for it. You do the best you can do and you’re grateful for what you have,” he says, reflecting on his early work. “I still feel that way. But more so I feel like there’s a ticking clock, that life is a set of experiences, and I want to have experiences I feel are worthwhile. At this point in my life, I don’t have a family to support, so I can make choices based on how I want to live. And the things I get from my experiences with making movies—when I think about what makes me happiest, it’s those experiences.”
The fact is that he’s never not lived a life rooted in storytelling, which is to say a perspective of reality illustrated by representation. So what, then, is real when your concept of self is mapped through the experiences of invented personalities? It’s a challenge Jake attacks by ensuring that each of his roles proves revelatory about his own identity, at whatever the cost.
Jake’s practicing kung fu. Jake’s at a juvenile boys detention center. Jake’s sitting inside a burning building. Jake’s getting punched in the face. Jake’s having live ammo fired just past his head. Jake’s watching suicide videos. Jake’s on his bike in the middle of nowhere. Jake’s being dragged by a truck.
Jake’s a solid six feet tall, and his body is massive in a deliberate, invented sort of way, like it’s very clearly an object of his own discipline. Whereas most people live in bodies that just happened to them, his is this hulking creation, which he hunches over like he’s carrying the plight of the wild American buffalo on his shoulders. We’re eating cheeseburgers.
“For a number of years, I felt physically into the character before I felt internally into the character.” Jake has famously bulked up by working with elite trainers for roles in Jarhead, Brothers, and Prince of Persia, but it’s a method he’s less focused on these days, acknowledging that an external transformation is never as powerful as an internal one, which he approaches with equal if not more intensity.
“Sometimes it’s already been written for you, sometimes it’s just there and you’re like, got it, perfect,” he says, then references the work of Nicole Holofcenter, with whom he worked on Lovely & Amazing, and the playwright David Auburn, who adapted his 2001 Pulitzer Prize– and Tony award–winning play, Proof, for director John Madden in 2005, starring Jake, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Anthony Hopkins. “[But] I need my way in,” he continues, “because I don’t want to fake it. Some people can just jump. I need at least 150 yards of sprint.”
Prisoners arrives almost a year to the day after End Of Watch, David Ayer’s intimate, humanistic portrait of present-day Los Angeles gangland police wars—which is more about man’s tribal nature than violence or race. It was also a film in which Jake pushed his limits the furthest yet in terms of physio-emotional preparation: fight training at a Kenpo Karate dojo every morning; sitting in a controlled burning building with co-star Michael Pena so the two could feel the true godless heat of being engulfed in flames; practice on the shooting range that included having live ammo fired at him; plus ride-alongs with cops three nights a week, on the very first of which someone was killed.
“My experience on End of Watch…” he says, pausing, an expression of cherished pain washing across his face. “It redefined for me how I wanted to make movies. It was an experience I had no idea was going to be as influential on me as it was.”
Jake, it seems, has always been an extremist, but his evolution in off-screen acting was gradual: For an emotionally climactic scene in Jarhead, where he points a gun at another Marine, played by Brian Geraghty, Jake took it so far that Geraghty felt actually attacked and didn’t speak to him for a month. (Jake also chipped his own tooth during that scene, when he turns the gun on himself.) In Brothers, his character had just been released from a jail stint that occupied the end of his adolescence, and despite it being an unfilmed aspect of the backstory that would only live inside the character, Jake went to juvenile detention centers. “First I went to state jail and L.A. county and got the typical tours. But then I met up with Scott [Budnick, a film producer and celebrated volunteer for California State prisoner advocacy]. He’s friends with someone in the juvenile system, and he took me through a real tour of the facilities and to this one class he had with incarcerated juveniles, and I became fascinated with these boys and their stories. And I went back over and over again, not just for filming the movie, but years after that.”
For Source Code, an underrated sci-fi puzzle directed by Duncan Jones (Moon; son of David Bowie), Jake spent a majority of the production acting by himself, much of the film taking place inside his character’s mind—he used the art of Wing Chun kung fu, famously practiced by Yip Man and Bruce Lee, “which is about using one’s energy. It’s a lot of touch reflex exercises that I found, when repeated, would really get me into a scene.”
Watch was sort of the culmination of his approach to off-and-on-screen acting that had become increasingly fundamental to his process: a self-obliteration that makes room for the complexity of another. So after the filming and promotion and release, a sabbatical of restorative soul-searching and recovery was more than just another break from filming, it was something more personal.
“I made a number of changes in my life,” he says when I ask how he filled the year that followed Watch. “I moved from Los Angeles to New York City, really to be closer to my family, and also—I had made a lot of promises to myself about getting back to theater, which is what I love, and I really wanted to follow that. I wanted to be around that community. So I just made this sort of big move out East, which is the opposite move people usually make, and I basically took some time.”
A couple days later, Jake sends me an e-mail that says “I had reached a point in my life and career where I had to ask myself what I really believed in, what I wanted to leave behind. I felt like those questions warranted exploration. I believe deeply in the reality of both the light and dark side of things and everything in between. I am interested in exploring people and situations without a filter.” And when a director’s mission statement about an upcoming project made its way to Jake, asking, “How unbearable is it to be in front of yourself, to totally recognize yourself in another being?” he knew he’d found his experience, his experiment.
Attached to the front of the script for Enemy, adapted from the Portuguese Nobel Prize–winning author José Saramago’s novel, O Homem Duplicado, is an essay from Villeneuve in which he describes his vision of the film as “an existential erotic thriller” and that “this movie is in fact a subconscious experience.” He writes that “it’s a film about the power of the subconscious and the misdeeds of this power on intimacy. It’s a subject that deeply concerns me because it has such a strong influence on our personal lives and a real impact on society. If you aren’t aware of this force and its side effects, you would never know who’s making decisions—who’s really in charge inside yourself.”
“And so I went like, what is this?” Jake remembers. “It was a manifesto, which I loved, that basically said, What you’re about to read will not seem like it’s about this. [But] this is what it’s about to me, and here is why I want to make this movie. It was amazing. Then Denis came to New York and we sat down and we had one of the most extraordinary meetings I’ve had with a director.”
In Enemy, Jake plays a high school teacher who sees his exact doppleganger in a movie, and after finding the actor, their lives and notions of selfhood become inextricably fucked. Jake, of course, plays both characters. “This existential crisis, this depression,” Denis writes, “would be part of the main character, even if it isn’t mentioned in the dialogue.”
“It’s about somebody searching for themselves,” Jake says. “It’s about dual identities and the search for identity in all of us. I’m not even sure I would call it a movie. It’s one of those films that’s about a question, and I wonder if it’s ultimately anything more than a question.”
At this point, it should be no surprise that Villeneuve’s perspectives on subconscious connectivity resonated deeply with Jake, particularly as he was searching for a vehicle with which to explore the unfiltered recesses of his mind. But there’s one crucial aspect of the story we haven’t yet touched on: The Boss.
“I don’t give a damn for the same old played out scenes. I don’t give a damn for just the in-betweens. Honey, I want the heart, I want the soul, I want control right now. You better listen to me baby: Talk about a dream, try to make it real. You wake up in the night with a fear so real. You spend your life waiting for a moment that just don’t come. Well don’t waste your time waiting.”
–Bruce Springsteen, “Badlands,” from Darkness on the Edge of Town
When I ask Jake if he can pinpoint any big epiphanic moments in his life, he points to the year-plus after filming Source Code and before his balls-deep approach to End Of Watch. His publicist, Mara Buxbaum, told him to watch the documentary The Promise, about the making of Bruce Springsteen’s seminal record Darkness On The Edge Of Town. “Which may seem like a strange irony,” Jake says, “one’s publicist instigating a search of one’s soul, [but] she has a way of recommending things at the right time. She could see that I was searching and offered [the film, which premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival] as a bit of a guide.” He continues: “I have listened to Springsteen since I was a boy. My father was always a big Springsteen fan. The “Born in the USA” tour was the first concert I went to.”
The story goes like this: In 1975, Springsteen and his E Street Band had finally found success with their third studio record, Born To Run. A group of guys who spent years scraping by playing clubs on the Jersey Shore finally felt the reassurance of success. And the first thing Springsteen wanted was full creative freedom, to be the master of his own output, which resulted in a legal battle and contractual obligation that prevented the band from recording for three years. Springsteen spent the time ruminating on the role instinct plays in the artistic development that comes with age and conviction. When they finally got back in the studio, the band partially recorded about 52 songs, 10 of which becameDarkness On The Edge Of Town, an album Springsteen himself defines as “a meditation on where are you going to stand?”
“The success we had with Born To Run immediately made me ask, Well, what’s that all about, what’s that mean for me?” Springsteen says in the documentary. “The success brought me an audience, it also separated me from all the things I’d been trying to make my connections to my whole life, and it frightened me because I understood that what I had of value was at my core…That’s what a lot of people I admire drifted away from: the essential things that made them great. And more than rich, and more than famous, and more than happy—I wanted to be great.”
Jake says: “You constantly have to stay alive, stay awake, listen to yourself. I want to try and make choices that, no matter how they turn out, I can always say I know where this started in me.”
Denis says: “Truth in a performance comes from the actor’s instinct, his subconscious. But to let that happen, he needs to lose control.”
Jake says: “I was looking for an experience. I was looking for an experiment.”
During the filming of Enemy, in early summer of 2012, Villeneuve approached Jake about playing the role of Detective Loki in his next feature, Prisoners, slated to start filming in the new year. “He came to me on set and was like, ‘Look, I’ve been talking to the producers and we think you’d be great to play this part, and I would love to work with you again,’” Jake says. “And I was just like, ‘Sure.’”
This uncharacteristic nonchalance obviously speaks to his confidence in Villeneuve as a partner in alchemy, but it more so elucidates Jake’s recent hunger. Immediately after filming Enemy, he made his New York stage debut with Nick Payne’s “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet,” keeping his promise to himself to return to the theater. “We finished [the play] January first, and we started filming [Prisoners] January eighth.”
Much as how the plot of The Shining is just Man Attacks Family, the plot of Prisoners is purposefully simple: two children are abducted. The emotional veracity of the story is communicated through Villeneuve’s blend of neorealism and Kubrickian abstraction, and the environment he creates that encourages actors to boldly challenge themselves. “More and more, I’ve tried to ask myself about myself,” Jake says, then acknowledges that for all the yards of sprinting he endures to find his way into a character, that this is a sort of potential energy made kinetic during interaction with his castmates—that instinct only exists as a response system. “That’s one of the reasons I love other actors. I discover what I want to talk about when I begin to exchange with someone else.”
Jake probably couldn’t have found a more excellent ensemble than the one in Prisoners: Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, Maria Bello, and, especially, Hugh Jackman, who gives perhaps the performance of his career.
“What always impressed me about Jake was his steadfast commitment to connection,” Jackman tells me over e-mail. “His work ethic is like mine: he loves to explore, dig, and extract every ounce of depth in a scene. He has the courage to follow his instincts, and helps create an atmosphere where anything is possible. He is open, always striving for truth and complexity. What he has pulled off in Prisoners is extraordinary.”
“Jake loves the sensation of having given everything in a shot,” says Villeneuve. “Like, he would die at the end of each take, [and] doing sometimes 35 or 40 takes. Again. Again. Again. Searching. His generosity was very moving. I think actors are better when they are free, [and] in danger.”
“I’ve been waiting for that for years,” Jake says. “I’ve been waiting for a director to be like, ‘Oh yeah, get hurt.’”
“He can go really deep into a performance and totally lose control,” Villeneuve continues. “Too many actors are not able to deal with this. When you lose control, you also deal with your own ugliness.”
“When we were all but powerless, all was made whole. It was made whole when the truth came out. At that point, then, in the well-wrought play (and perhaps in the honestly examined life), we will understand that what seemed accidental was essential, we will perceive the pattern wrought by our character, we will be free to sigh or mourn. And then we can go home.”
–David Mamet, Three Uses Of The Knife: On The Nature of Drama
Jake’s devout practice of acting as a method for self-revelation is ultimately one that benefits the audience, as well as the equity of the craft itself. Because what he seems to have learned from a life spent in film is that, despite all the emotional agility and behavioral flexibility with which actors express themselves, nothing is more real than real. And for all its rewards, for any artist to get close to something like truth in representation—it comes with its costs.
“Maybe people can be fooled, but I’m not interested in that,” Jake says. “I think it’s possible to be intimate in your work. It means asking questions of yourself, it demands trust. And that is scary because you never know if you’re completely safe, and it’s not always pretty. But I’m pretty damn sure that it’s the only way to go. I’m looking for the roles that will amount to my expressing as much as possible. What I’m looking for is all sides of myself.”
Ever since I started writing this, I’ve had an idea for my own experiment: walk over to the bookshelf, choose a character from a novel, and try to make myself cry as that character.
For one thing, I’m just sort of curious as to whether or not I can do it: sure, I can make my eyes water, maybe even convincinly fake it, but a true emotional moment? As a personality explored distantly within my own sense of self? (Can we take a moment to consider how insane the idea of acting is?)
But the real purpose of my experiment is that if I can manifest even a small genuine expression of feelings by proxy—accessing, in the process, I’m sure all kinds of terrible shit I’d rather not think about—I want to know how it feels to recover. I want to know how much of it will stay a part of me.
I get up, look at my books, and suddenly remember something: When Jake first started to personalize how storytelling informs self-awareness, he footnoted that this has always been its purpose in culture, and then cited Homer’s Odyssey, “which so many stories are still similar to. It’s about the things that have to be done to get back home—they change you for the rest of your life. You don’t get back home unscarred. And whatever those things are that scar you, whatever mistakes you’ve made, they’re lessons. The movies I’ve tried to make are like that, they say it’s an imperfect journey. No one will get back to where they need to be without scars. No one will get back without having to sacrifice something.”
In case you missed it, here’s what looks like a promo poster for Enemy (thanks to GyllenBabble for the great find).
From an exclusive from TheWrap we learn that there’s a fight over Enemy (at last). We’ll know by Wednesday night if the deal closes and if we’ll ever see Enemy at theaters.
A three-way scrum for Jake Gyllenhaal’s buzzy Toronto title “Enemy” is under way, TheWrap has learned — with a deal expected to close by Wednesday night.
A24, The Weinstein Co. and Focus were nearing the finish line on a deal in the low seven-figure range. Positive reaction and reviews touched off the multi-day auction that began after its weekend premiere.
It’s hard to be a blogger and a fan when promotion starts and things with Jake get fast and furious, and when your job absorbs the most of your day so that you only get 4/5 hours to close your eyes – calling it sleep would be a stretch – believe you me, it sucks. Now not only I’m running behind my schedule as if I hadn’t worked 14 hours a day since I got back from my mountains but I can’t see the end of the tunnel, either. By any means this blog and its followers deserve an apology for not being up-to-date. I’m keeping an eye on this incredible promotion of course, just can’t find the time to post and I do apologize for that.
Just one thing I have to share, because you all know how eager I am to know more about ‘Enemy’ and I know there are a few GC followers who do too so don’t miss this Playlist article about it.
Gyllenhaalics, you know where to turn to for all things Jake these days, so have fun with the Toronto madness and rejoice over the incredible raves our guy is getting from practically everywhere. We know it’s well deserved and we’ve always known.
I’ll be back, most likely after I get back from NYC.
See you very soon and thanks for your patience!
Thanks to the unequaled and beyond brilliant #1 Jake German fan Sasha here’s her translation of Jake’s Interview for GQStyle Germany, on newsstands now. No new photo-shoot but two different shots from the Details magazine series (one of my all-time favorites).
Thank you Sasha!
Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the best looking men in Hollywood. Dressed to the nines on the job. In private he could not care less for fashion. That’s why we talked with him about less important issues: money, for example.
Born into a family of movie makers, first acting job at 11: Jake Gyllenhaal is only 32 but his 25th movie, called “Prisoners”, is about to be released. Of course we could talk about that. But we won’t (or just as much as courtesy dictates). We want to get to know better the man behind the roles. For example, how does he manage to look so damn cool all the time?
Jake Gyllenhaal demonstrates how little a beautiful man has to work on looking really hot on this muggy summer’s day in a hotel in New York. He put on a washed-out dark blue T-shirt, worn jeans and an old pair of Clarks. Yet the outfit looks custom-made, the clothes fitting like a glove. T-shirt, jeans and Clarks – that’s how Gyllenhaal usually leaves his apartment in summer.
Gyllenhaal’s list of favorites on Stylebistro.com – a website analyzing the favorite clothes of celebrities based on paparazzi pictures – is correspondingly short. Often he wears checkered button down shirts with Aviator glasses; in winter it’s a thick wool scarf with a tweed sports jacket. He’s seen in suits or smockings only when at an Oscar party or movie premieres.
When you try to seriously research the archives as to what Gyllenhaal wears, you will find very little on that, but instead you find all the more on the women who supposedly played vital roles in his life in the last 10 to 12 years: Reese Witherspoon, Anne Hathaway, Kirsten Dunst, Taylor Swift. In March rumor had it that he was dating model Emily DiDonato. In July the tabloids reported that he switched in favor of swimsuit girl Alyssa Miller.
Gyllenhaal, 32, is taller than he looks in his movies. Maybe because up until recently he played boys on the brink of adulthood. Chaps who were almost always younger and more naïve then Gyllenhaal himself: a cowboy, who went camping with a buddy (Brokeback Mountain); a prince with an oversized sword (Prince of Persia); a Viagra salesman (Love and Other Drugs).
Only in the last few years Gyllenhaal plays characters where he acts a grown man. The story of how he rode patrol with real police officers in South Central Los Angeles for months, experienced shootings and saw a man bleed to death in order to prepare for “End of Watch” is one he told a lot ever since. So let’s talk about something else first. We gonna give fashion a try.
Mister Gyllenhaal – Gyllenhaal, what kind of a name is that anyway?
My dad descends from the Swedish Gyllenhaal family, a noble lineage that my ancestor Nils Gunnarsson Haal established in the 17th century and which has been very influential in Sweden for a long time. My great-grandfather emigrated to the USA. But I see myself as a Jew since my mother is a Russian-Jewish New Yorker.
GQ Style is all about fashion. How much time do you spend in the morning to pick out your clothes?
Not much. Let’s say: a minute.
How important are well-toned arms when one wears T-shirts and short-sleeved button-down shirts?
I love martial arts – karate, capoeira, kick boxing, kung fu. That’s why I spend a lot of times in the gym and I have firm arms. But those arms are in no way a fashion statement.
Have you been to a fashion show before?
No, I haven’t.
Do you have an assistant when it comes to fashion?
Or a favorite designer?
What is the most important accessory for a man?
The only thing that is important for a man: he has to be in accordance with what he does. Everything else will come on its own
Can you sum up your latest movie “Prisoners” in one sentence?
Two kids disappear and my character, Detective Loki, has to find them. But the dad is discontent with Loki’s work and the case turns into a downward spiral of hate and violence. The subject of the movie is the absurdity of revenge.
Those were three sentences.
Hollywood is making less and less sophisticated movies every year. And the movies that are being made are mainly explosions and CGI. Is it still fun to be a Hollywood star, Mr. Gyllenhaal?
You are right, the rivalry around the interesting roles gets more aggressive. That’s why we were able to win Hugh Jackman for a super low-budget project like “Prisoners” even though he could ask for 20 Million for any other movie. Melissa Leo, Paul Dano and Maria Bello were cast as well. That’s what’s increasingly important for me: I want to work with a really good team and have fun.
Do you see yourself as a team player?
In any case I got very agitated when I sensed being labeled as a “celebrity”. I don’t want to get certain roles in expensive movies because I’m well known. What I am really interested in, is the craft of being an actor. That means understanding everybody else’s craft on set as well: cinematographers, make-up artists, costume designers. I have been extremely lucky, but right now I just want to be part of a functioning group. In short: yes, the team is the key.
Why is it so difficult to make a good movie?
I have been doing this for 20 years now and I have absolutely no idea. Sometimes you think everything is perfect – and then you are disappointed by the finished product. With me it usually starts with a feeling, an energy I sense when I read the script.
How many scripts do you read on a daily basis?
At least two.
How many of them are interesting?
I find all of them interesting. Even those that I would never play in. My mother writes scripts, my dad is a director and I know how much time and effort are in each and every script. I value the ideas, the conflicts, the craft of the writer.
What does a script need to have in order for you to excite you and you agree to do it?
I couldn’t tell you. It has a lot to do with timing. And the way that you get in touch with each other. Denis Villeneuve, the director of ”Prisoners” gave me his script and wanted to talk about it. I liked that he asked for my ideas. Doesn’t happen too often.
You are also in Villeneuve’s next movie “Enemy”. A trust issue?
Yes, you need to trust each other. Every project is a dangerous beast for every actor as we have no influence on how the team will work and what the product will look like in the end.
There is this story that you asked to meet the producers of “End of Watch” after you read the script – even though they never considered offering you the role. So you do have to fight for the best parts.
Of course. Everybody wants these rare opportunities that really challenge an actor. It’s a tough competition. No one in Hollywood can expect his dream parts to come flying to him.
What was the dumbest movie you ever got offered?
That’s a hard one to answer because there are a lot of dumb ideas out there. And also I don’t want to insult anyone.
Your job has an economical side to it as well: how in demand an actor is, seems to depend on how well his last movie did. How do you cope with the fact that you seem to have a price tag around your neck that can never read “Sale”?
I don’t think about it or I would go crazy.
Are you looking nervously at the viewing figures on opening weekend?
Yes. Although it’s rather pointless since I can’t influence it. Every actor has to understand that the movie business is about money. Someone gave you money to make a movie and he will want the money back at one point – with considerable interest. If you can’t accept that Hollywood is not the right place for you.
A painful finding?
No. You have to distinguish between the requirements of a job – and how you exercise it. While I work I have never thought I need to make this or that decision so people will go to the theater later on. I can only try to give my bet. My currency is not money, it’s creativity. Money should be taken care of by the people whom money is important for.
Does money not interst you at all?
Let’s say it’s none of my passions to buy things, to own them – I don’t even think about that.
Prisoners – in German theaters starting October 10th
GC: “I miss that beard.”
Citizen of the world.