New End of Watch clip, exclusive from Comic-Con
Jake didn’t fly to San Diego after all, but was present in spirit. Co-star Michael Pena and director David Ayer were there, though. We’ve got a brand new (short) clip from End of Watch, exclusive from Comic-Con. From what we can read from first reviews and tweets people have enjoyed the film. Good!
Poor Michael Pena couldn’t hold a candle to Jake’s fitness but shared a bond deeper than marriage:
Though Gyllenhaal, the star of action films like “Prince of Persia,” came in fit, Pena did not.
“He was fat,” Ayer said.
Pena (above), who was caring for his kid at the time, begrudgingly admitted as much, comparing his training to Chris Farley running up a steep hill.
Regardless of their levels of fitness, both actors had to go through rigorous training – four months of it – to fully understand the life and rigors of being a cop in the inner city.
Doing so was essential to the film’s attempt at realism, Ayer said, especially since it alternates between comedy, sentiment and violence.
“It puts them through a common hell,” Ayer said.
As for what Pena took away from those cops he spent time with, he said, “It’s a weird relationship you have. It felt like family.”
Via video, Jake Gyllenhaal introduced some clips, one of which was an uninterrupted shot from an in-car camera as the movie’s two cops (Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena) chase a perp’s car, then get out and make the bust. A more conventionally edited scene had the two buddies cracking racial jokes at each other, with Gyllenhaal imagining a nagging Mexican wife and Pena imagining a boring white wife who likes flavored coffee. A third scene was a nightmarish POV thing with Gyllenhaal rescuing someone from a burning house – very tight camera, heavy heartbeats and sound distortion on the soundtrack, ending with subjective POV shot of being treated by firemen for smoke inhalation. Ayer emphasized the realism of the movie – said he showed it to cops and they liked it, the training he put his actors through (Pena said he had gotten badly overweight, like “Chris Farley running uphill,” so getting in shape was hard). Much of it does rely on almost found-footage – cop-cams and the like – the stuff that isn’t was often shot with cameras attached to the actors themselves. The clip about the wives was improv – Ayers added “My wife’s Mexican, so I get it.” It was shot in 22 days, not including reshoots.
I especially like this:
“Jake Gyllenhaal, who beamed in a video greeting, and Michael Pena, who greeted the crowd in person, star as partners in a squad car, tough as nails as they cope with the dangers of the inner city.
“He strapped these cameras onto us,” said Pena. “He built these weird contraptions, and I’m like the Mexican Robocop, trying to keep Jake in frame.”
Ayer said that viewers now expect an immediacy in video. “People see movies differently these days,” he said. “You have YouTube, you have (the video game) ‘Call of Duty,’ you expect a certain image of reality. This technique I call informed by POV. Sometimes in the body of the movie the actors are filming with cameras they hold.”
In the clip shown at Comic-Con, Gyllenhaal does voice-over to footage shot from the front seat of a cop car, complete with the LAPD time stamp on the video.
The first clip was all footage captured on a camera embedded into the cop car, complete with a time stamp that made it look like official footage. Gyllenhaal had a touching voice over while the car drove about a cop’s duty to protect and to serve, and towards the end of the clip we see the cop car chasing after another car. They get the other car off the road and two men with guns pop out and start shooting at the car (thus at Gyllenhaal and Pena). It was intense watching this happen through the car cam, as it gives the audience a sense of actually being there with the officers. There’s no stylization; you get the idea that this is what it’s really like.
The next clip was a really, really funny scene between Pena and Gyllenhaal that Ayer later revealed was completely improvised. They’re busting each other’s balls about their significant others, and the two actors clearly have great chemistry.
The final clip followed Pena and Gyllenhaal running into a burning house to rescue a family trapped inside. The camera work inside the house was entirely handheld, and actually made it kind of difficult to tell what was going on. It felt very claustrophobic, but I guess that’s the point. I’d assume the feeling of watching this sequence is comparable to actually running into a burning house.
Going into the End of Watch panel I figured I knew what to expect (ie. a cop drama similar to Ayer’s other work), but I was wrong. The intriguing camera techniques that put the audience into the headspace of the characters combined with the honest and heroic portrayal of police officers makes this a different beast altogether. Moreover, the chemistry between Pena and Gyllenhaal promises to bring some levity to the pic. End of Watch is definitely one to look out for.
Stay tuned, more to follow.