Thus Spoke Jake Gyllenhaal

UPDATED to add an interview with the Guardian, see at the bottom of the post.

What a nice surprise from Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg today!

Scott FeinbergVerified ‏@ScottFeinberg
VIDEO: My recent interview with END OF WATCH star Jake Gyllenhaal about his life, 21 years in the movies and his future

I recently had the opportunity to sit down in New York with the Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal following a screening of his hit film End of Watchfor a wide-ranging conversation about his life and career. Gyllenhaal, who will turn 32 next month and has now been acting professionally for 21 years, says that he recently arrived at something of a turning-point in both: after his experience with End of Watch and now the acclaimed off-Broadway play If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet, he has decided that he will only take on projects that challenge and mean as much to him as they do. Together — as you can see for yourself by checking out the video at the top of this page or read about below — we took a look back at his remarkable journey to this conclusion.

In other words, 40 minutes of Jake Gyllenhaal talking about his family, his career, his inspiration and his films. A long Q&A in which Jake entertains the audience in his usual funny, charming, down to earth way. I know it’s greedy on my part but I wish there were more of these long, thorough one-on-one interviews, there’s always something new to discover about the guy and rest assured that it’s always something that makes you appreciate him more. 

So make yourself comfortable, you’re in for a treat

[…] I believe that he proved that already and then some:

Now, rather than simply be content with that, it seems that he is out to prove that he is not only a great movie star, but also a great actor. With his performances in both End of Watch and If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet, he makes a strong case.

[…] For the first time Jake reveals the reason behind the fight with Michael Pena during the shooting of End of Watch:

The main thing that attracted Gyllenhaal to End of Watch, he says, was “the dialogue between these guys in the car.” For the film to work, Gyllenhaal and Pena’s interpretations of those words — and occasion improvisations — had to be completely believable, and they are. You would never guess that the two actors actually got off on the wrong foot with each other and really didn’t get along until after having a major blowup in which they vented their frustrations to one another. “I haven’t really ever talked about this,” Gyllenhaal says, before revealing that their “massive fight” took place after a miscommunication during a tactical training exercise that involved live ammunition nearly caused an accident. Gyllenhaal confronted Pena, who insisted that, because he was wearing ear protection, he hadn’t heard Gyllenhaal say to him that he was moving positions. They had it out there, but the next day Pena called him to talk about it, and after that, Gyllenhaal says, “I had that motherfucker’s back.” Today, he describes Pena as “just a brilliant actor” who is “just brilliant in this movie,” and adds that the making of the movie itself was “a life-changing experience” for him.


In the time since the film wrapped, Gyllenhaal has gone back to the theater. Since Sept. 20, he has been appearing in Nick Payne‘s off-Broadway play If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet, giving eight performances a week at the Laura Pels Theatre at 111 West 46th Street. Gyllenhaal plays — with a flawless English accent — the well-intentioned but immature uncle of an overweight teenage girl whose parents are too busy to realize the extent of her emotional troubles. The play begs the question of whether his arrival on the scene as sort of a truth-teller makes the situation better or worse. Tickets cost $100, but the show, which runs through Nov. 25 [GyllenCrazy: performances actually resume on December 8 and play through December 23, 2012] has played to packed crowds every night, something that has not escaped Gyllenhaa’s notice. “I can’t tell you what a privilege it is to be up on stage every night,” he says, “to know that 450 people filled the seats of a theater every night to come see four people work on a stage.”

The old saying goes, “Once you’ve seen Paris it’s hard to go back to the farm.” For Gyllenhaal, End of Watch and If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet seem to be something like Paris. It’s not like he was previously making a living as a hack, but his work on these two projects has been so challenging — and ultimately gratifying — that he doesn’t want to waste precious time on others that are not. As he puts it, “I have no intention of doing work, here-on-out, that doesn’t take that same type of devotion and that same type of care.”


A never seen before video interview for a Brazilian digital magazine about End Of Watch and working with Micheal Pena

Nothing new in this next video, just a collection of old interviews but I thought it was fun to compare his looks, especially from the first two interviews.


The New Eyes For The Needy 80 years celebration will take place on November 19, 2012 (only 23 single tickets available), while the Benefit Auction will resume tomorrow, November 9.


According to Playbill Jake will be among the talents who will act in stage readings from contemporary American plays presented by the Arts in the Armed Forces for the military and their families Nov. 11 at 8 PM at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. The website doesn’t expressly list Jake but mentions “other special guests”.


From The Guardian an interview about End of Watch and how it changed Jake’s life plus something about a blazer…

Later, I meet him and co-star Michael Pena, holed up in a hotel basement. Gyllenhaal politely asks if I’d mind them jogging round the room to try to stay sparky. Then he’s concerned I might be cold. Would I like his blazer? I put it on and explain most of my clothes are being fumigated for bedbugs. He blanches only briefly. “Oh, awesome! Well, it was a nice jacket while I had it. And my skin was really nice.” Pena cackles. “Yeah, dude, you’ll be doing that play like this.” He mimes itchy nipples. Gyllenhaal giggles. They stop jogging and laugh harder.


Such fraternity is also potentially concerning. End of Watch is a terrific film, and, to be fair, our heroes do happen upon some remarkably grisly finds on even the most innocuous housecall, but it will also function as a persuasive recruitment video. Did Gyllenhaal ever worry being embedded with the LAPD might just mean they were in bed with them?

“Yes and no. I don’t think you can approach any piece of art with boundaries or rules. I think respect is a very important thing but I also think what we discover along the way is really important. I think what we were trying to stay true to was the authenticity of what we saw, not the romantic version.”


“We Americans greet our servicemen as they come back from overseas and we shake their hands and thank them. Not the case with cops who go into harm’s way.”

Why? He pauses. “I think people are intimated by the police. At the end of the day, it’s a secret society. It’s not a place where regular citizens get to see behind the facade.” He doesn’t think there’s any other reason people feel wary? “Absolutely I do believe there is a bit of psychological protection. They can read my mind; they can see my sins. I have pot in my car. I took a Zanax. All our petty faults are writ large.”


Time’s up. I hand back Gyllenhaal’s blazer and he slips it on, faint fear creasing the grin. A week or so later I read the first reviews of his play, just opened on Broadway. None seem to mention any unexplained scratching. They all talk about the beard, though.

• End of Watch is out on 23 November


10 thoughts on “Thus Spoke Jake Gyllenhaal

  1. Oh wow — 40 minutes with Jake! That’s a real treat any day. He should do these long video interviews more often. But then, it still wouldn’t be enough, would it? I particularly liked the way he responded to the question about balancing work and family.

  2. Whoa, can this guy get any more perfect? it should be against the law to be so friggin’ awesome. Thanks GC, great post. As for that fake twitter acct, what the heck is wrong with Jake’s reps, didn’t they ask for it to be suspended? what a douchebag. jeez.

  3. Hi,
    looks like Jake is dating again. I saw somewhere on iheartjake a new picture of him holding hands with a girl I haven’t seen before. I hope she is a good girl and makes him happy.

    • Hi likemonalisa,

      I agree, this interview is fantastic. I especially loved to hear him talk about Brokeback and how it affected him.

      A “go-to guy” is usually someone you turn to for help or support, someone who’s got the expertise to handle a particular problem for example or provide a particular service. In this case, Scott Feinberg said that Jake has become the go-to guy in Hollywood [GC: a little too optimistically, I’m afraid], an actor who you turn to if you want quality and money from a movie. As you heard, Jake didn’t accept this definition but gave a heartfelt speech on why he’s doing this ‘absurd’ and ‘important’ job.

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