An Englishman in New York
…Jake’s character, that is. Watch him on stage in this sneak peek from the play but BE WARNED, it obviously contains spoilers, so you might want to wait and see the whole thing at theater, it opens today so you have plenty of time to buy your tickets. But for those who can’t, especially you from the other side of the pond, this is for you and it gives hope that indeed it’s being recorded and maybe will make it to TV or DVD.
To the cast of If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet: BREAK A LEG!!!
Video courtesy of Broadway.com
Jake and Brian F. O’Byrne with KATV journalist chat about their bond on stage and more, both saying nice things about the other.
“He’s like my older brother – that’s how it feels,” says Gyllenhaal, sitting beside O’Byrne in a comfy downtown cafe. “It feels like that in the scenes and it feels like that when we come offstage.”
As if to illustrate how close the duo have become, both arrived at rehearsals clean-shaven but now sporting bushy beards. “As much as it seems like a character choice, neither of us likes shaving,” O’Byrne says and the pair crack up.
During the course of lunch, there is absolutely no ego on show. The actors goof on each other, share compliments and food. Gyllenhaal instantly worries about his co-star’s comfort when the Irishman arrives at his outdoor table slightly sweaty.
“You guys want to go inside? There’s a beautiful table over there. It would be cooler,” Gyllenhaal asks. He then proceeds to expertly carry four filled water glasses to the new table and makes sure everyone is satisfied with the new area.
“He likes organizing things,” O’Byrne teases.
The two had never worked together before but knew of each other’s work. Gyllenhaal had watched O’Byrne onstage in “Doubt” and “The Coast of Utopia” and on TV in “Mildred Pierce.” O’Byrne was a fan of “Brokeback Mountain” and “Donnie Darko.” Now they share a dressing room.
“To have a first is a really wonderful thing. And to have a first with someone who is so wise and experienced is a blessing,” says Gyllenhaal of O’Byrne. “It’s an honor working on the stage with him.”
O’Byrne responds with a mock insult – “He’s a one-trick pony, beard or no beard” – and makes fun of Gyllenhaal’s luscious head of hair. “Look at that hair! I mean, have you ever seen anything like it? I could eat it.”
Eventually, the laugher dies down and O’Byrne grows earnest, asking Gyllenhaal to cover his ears while he says nice things. “To have somebody who’s obviously at the top of his game, who comes to the stage with the freshness he does? You don’t often get that,” he says. “It’s great fun.”
“End of Watch” is one of the best police movies in recent years, a virtuoso fusion of performances and often startling action.
All through the movie, Jake Gyllenhaal reveals a presence and stability that’s in contrast to the lighter-weight, ingratiating characters he often plays. Michael Pena gives one of the performances of his career as the other cop, and the reality of their relationship underscores the whole film. We wouldn’t believe some of the things they do if we didn’t believe who they are.
Long audio interview (at 10’20” a question about Heath and I almost choked up)
Funny Anna Kendrick on Conan
The Daily Beast (hilarious!)
The two are deeply bonded, both in and out of the squad car. But to call End of Watch a “buddy cop” movie is like referring to Titanic as a film about a boating accident.
Peña recounted one particularly harrowing evening when the actors’ presence at a routine traffic stop drew a restive crowd of onlookers. The potential for disaster loomed over the scene, but ultimately fed the performers’ onscreen chemistry. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, it can get out of hand,’” Peña said. “But I knew if I got into a fight, Jake would have my back. That’s the kind of trust that, for me, was a huge thing. He’s a much more trustful person than I am.”
Pre-production prep also meant practicing kick-boxing, and Gyllenhaal and Peña squared off against one another just once before deciding to put down their dukes. “Dude, he kicked me so fucking hard!” Peña recalled with a grimace. “For a month, I had this welt on top of my leg.”
“So he kicked me four times, just as hard, for the one time I kicked him,” Gyllenhaal said with a laugh. “Literally, it was like, ‘Whah-blap!’Aaaarrggghhh!”
“When he kicked me, I tried to be so cool,” Peña continued. “But I was like, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t fight anymore.’ Because he kicked way harder than the other dudes. He had this Tae Kwon Do fucking kick.”
After spending so much time together, the two actors have an easy rapport, finishing each others’ sentences, performing convincing imitations of one another and chuckling together at their in-jokes. In End of Watch, their dialog is spiced with a seemingly endless stream of “bros” and “dudes.” And unsurprisingly, Gyllenhaal and Peña are extremely partial to using the B and the D words for emphasis in conversation. Particularly Peña.
“‘Dude, dude, dude, dude, dude.’ He’s a big repeater of one word,” Gyllenhaal said of his movie foil. “‘Dude, dude, dude, dude, dude, dude, dude, bro, bro, bro, bro, bro, bro, bro, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!’”
The two roared with laughter.
“At first it wasn’t easy because I was really closed off,” said Peña. “It was just really tough for me. But Jake was really open. He really helped me out. For the first couple of months, it took him, like, breaking down my walls.”
Gyllenhaal grew serious. An “I love you, man” moment seemed close at hand. “That resistance made me realize what he has inside, he has this amazing heart,” he said quietly. “There’s a reason for him to protect it. I understood that when you are that sensitive, you’ve gotta protect it. I needed to know that it takes time. It isn’t immediately going to be there.”
“Not to be an asshole but, he’s a fuckin’ star, dude!” Peña suddenly exclaimed. “He was super giving. I’ve been in movies where… you want to be at the tippy top. And he’s like, ‘Dude, dude, dude, let’s get one more take. Remember that thing you did in rehearsal and blah blah blah.’ He wanted me to kill it. That’s rare, dude.”
He added, “I’m not a method actor, but this is the closest I came to it.”
End of Watch ‘TICKETING’ CLIP
HitFix (see the full video interview clicking on the link)
Gyllenhaal has impressed in films such as “Brokeback Mountain” (his lone Oscar nomination so far), “Jarhead,” “Donnie Darko” and “Zodiac,” but his charismatic and intense turn in “Watch” is absolutely one of his finest performances to date.
He continues, “All the guys we ran across, all the partners – there were probably five or six different sets of partners in the Sheriff’s Dept. or LAPD that we worked with and yeah, this movie changed my life. I mean, the experience of it. We shot it in 22 days, but we prepared for five months for it. And every step along the way I learned something about myself. And I saw the world in a different way.”
CineMovieTv Jake and Michael
Surely, we’ve seen it all before. The car chases. The shootouts. The bantering and bonding between the men and women who wear the badge.
Surely, there is nothing new under the sun where cop movies are concerned.
Don’t be too sure about that.
“End of Watch” feels new. Fresh. Immediate. Watching it, it’s almost as though you’re seeing a cop movie for the first time.
But there’s more than technical gimmickry at play in the picture. It’s the performances that set it in a class by itself.
It’s a given of the movie business. Cast two movie stars opposite one another as leads in your film, they develop chemistry. Or else.
But the “or else” is what happened when cop picture specialist David Ayer put Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena in his writing/ directing effort, “End of Watch.”
“I get these two actors together, and they’re not digging each other,” Ayer says. “I’m watching my movie slowly die in front of me.”
He can laugh about it now, but Pena (“Crash,” “Shooter” “World Trade Center”), for one, owns up to how badly things were going.
“It’s kind of embarrassing,” Pena says, laughing. “We had to be cop brothers. And we couldn’t agree on anything. I think we were giving each other (grief) just for the sake of it.
“We were all, ‘Give me the real you, (bleep)!’ Way too much of that calling each other out. Not a very actorly thing to do.”
What really makes END OF WATCH work is the love shared between the film’s two leads. The camaraderie of these two officers is honest and infectious. With such an amazing chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Peña, it is hard to not grow attached to their well-intentioned characters. Not only was it easy to see these two as partners, it seemed as though they were as close to brothers as they possibly could be. The dialogue between them is incredibly natural that you have to wonder if these two are this close in real life. […] Without the wonderful performances from Jake and Michael, END OF WATCH just wouldn’t have worked nearly as well as it does.
Thanks to its docu-drama structure and terrific lead performances, END OF WATCH is a riveting motion picture. While it may take some time to get used to the episodic format, there are sequences here that are just nail-bitingly suspenseful.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “End of Watch’ is an insightful, intense 7, emphasizing not only the importance of brotherhood and teamwork but also the cinematic chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Pena.
Michael about Jake
There are some missteps, particularly in regard to the ending (which won’t be spoiled here), but overall, “End of Watch” offers up several compelling characters, thanks both to Ayers’ writing and his direction of a very talented cast. Kendrick and Martinez make the most of their secondary roles (and the cops played by America Ferrera, David Harbour and Cody Horn are compelling enough to rate their own movie), but this is Gyllenhaal and Peña’s show all the way.
From their hilarious comic chemistry to their commitment to the necessarily darker side of their roles, both actors make these boys in blue thoroughly vivid and complex. After decades of gritty and even darkly comic movies and TV shows about the lives of cops on the street, it’s surprising that they can still be surprising.
“Months and months of training for that,” Gyllenhaal joked about the scene. “No, I have to say, thank God I had a great partner in Anna Kendrick in that scene. She was on fire. There were a number of moments that I made mistakes, but I just knew I had a solid in her. She took me through, she guided me through until there was a moment I had to do a breakdancing move, which I knew I had to do by myself. But I had a nice slick floor — they waxed it down for me, so I knew I was good to go.”
So just to recap, the keys to an impeccable dance scene: Anna Kendrick, slick floors and absolutely no facial hair. None.
But how does the actor feel about his real-life moves?
“I do like to dance,” he said, though you might not be able to tell as much by looking at him. “The go-to move — it’s just a little bit of shoulder action,” he continued. “You’ve just got to stand still and not make a fool of yourself, or actually, make a fool of yourself. Go for it.
“I’ve found myself dancing on a dance floor a couple of times, [and] people have come to me, like, looking at me with their eyes, quizzically, like, ‘That’s what you call dancing?’ I say, ‘Yes.’ Van Gogh was not understood in his time either.”