London Calling part II

More from the UK promotion for End of Watch is slowly surfacing. After that hectic Friday last week things have settled down and thank god for that because I’m too old to run like a headless chicken. But it was fun and I can’t wait for the next round of frenzy activities.
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In this AP Entertainment Celebrity Extra interview you get to hear Jake talk about superstitions, pre-performance rituals (I was curious about that, too), about how he unwinds after the performances, about the differences between movie and theater work, and more. You can also watch him again in a couple of scenes from the play If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet.

Treading the boards of a New York stage may be new to Jake Gyllnehaal, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t comfortable up there. In 2002, he starred on London’s West End in a revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s, ‘This is Our Youth’. For his troubles he picked up an award for Best Newcomer. “That was an American play over in England, and this is an English play over in America, so now I’ve mirrored it in one way or another“, Gyllenhaal said. The 31-year Oscar-nominee’s current onstage role is in ‘If There Is, I Haven’t Found It Yet’. In the play, he adopts a very convincing English accent to play a slacker with a puppy dog’s heart who shows up on his brother’s doorstep.

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CaptureGQA few excerpts from Nick Carver’s interview for GQ magazine UK. Finally we read something new.

You’ve talked previously about the gallows humour of the cops you rode with. What was the worst thing they made a joke about?
Michael [Peña] and I were on patrol with two sheriffs and they got a call to go down this alleyway. They whispered to us that they could hear something moving and drew their guns. Instinctively Michael and I began to fall back – if there’s potential for anyone to pull a gun, the situation isn’t a whole lot of fun, especially when you don’t have one yourself. All of a sudden we heard gunshots go off. We soon realised they had set fireworks off. They had totally messed with us – faked the call, rigged the alleyway – and we were freaking out that we were in some firefight! I guess it meant we weren’t so shocked in the future, but it was still a little embarrassing.

What did the police officers say on screen cops often get wrong?
So many things. I think there’s a stigma that goes along with the uniform that gets dramatised in films and on TV – that’s a fantasy and the reality is so much different. One of the things David Ayer was very serious about was the way in which the driver in a cop car switches the gears before he exits. It’s a very specific movement that’s very rarely done accurately. We worked so hard to make those moments really real – how we moved, how we held our guns, how we sat in the car, how we dealt with the suspects… I think we succeeded.JGFANSUK

This film has a great soundtrack. Were there any particular artists you listened to in preparation for this role?
My character in particular was very intellectual, in a way. Most movies I do listen to music to psyche myself up, but there’s not anything specific for this one. I wasn’t even listening to music – I was listening to the sound around me. They say you roll down the window in a cop car and you hear the cries of the city. You never roll up your window – you need to use all your senses all the time.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
In work, never have any regrets and always leave everything on the field. And in life…at times, my grandfather would say to me, “This too shall pass”. That’s excellent advice.

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This long HITFIX feature interview by Kristopher Tapley ranks among the most interesting of the past few months. I particularly enjoyed reading about what Jake learned from the directors he worked with (many of them British, as he realizes in the Empire interview (scroll to the bottom of the post and skip to the last 20 minutes) and about the language of If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet.

On building Jake’s character, Terry, with language:

The character stops in the middle of thoughts and he continues into the middle of the next one,” the 31-year-old actor says. “Sometimes he’ll pick back up parenthetically like four or five lines back down. So you don’t just have to find the attention, you have to fill in the blank…The story is so obtuse; it’s the same thing. You begin at the middle of the scene and you finish before the situation actually ends. So to me, I was just fascinated by that and it started to guide me.”

Gyllenhaal says he always felt comfortable in front of a live audience and, ever since he was a kid, enjoyed mimicry. A cockney Brit was one of his “stock characters that are always used as caricatures that aren’t really necessary,” he says. “They’re kind of like the simple shape and form and mold of a sculpture.”

The language itself, though, the rhythms of it, made the part irresistible. He could even see the architecture of the dialogue for each character on the page. All of Terry’s dialogue is on the left side of the page, never making it past half-way across. The starting and stopping gives tangible shape to the thing, and as to informing character, it almost serves as a defense mechanism. As the play’s director Michael Longhurst put it in a telephone interview, “When characters speak like that, it’s often to avoid what he’s trying to say. He spends his time asking people how they are. It’s a way of avoiding how he’s doing. It’s a very British thing to do, deflect, deflect, deflect.”

And so Gyllenhaal starts in with his accent to illustrate the point: “When I first come in I’m like, ‘Probably should have rung or something,’ period. ‘But phone was fucked,’ period. ‘And I thought,’ period. ‘By the time I was trying to get change for the fucking,’ period. ‘You know, the phone and that,’ period. ‘Then I might as well just,’ period…It’s crazy! But that’s the way he writes, and unlocking it is what’s fun.”

Damn, it makes me want to go and see the play again.

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While End of Watch returns to US theaters this coming Friday

The audience at the Police Academy

Yes, this is what a late-breaking awards season push looks like, and it’s a damn fine way for audiences to catch up one of the year’s best underseen gems.

tomorrow it’s time for Belgians and Spaniards to go watch it. Speaking of Spain, the National Police Academy in Avila hosted an exclusive preview of End of Watch – Sin Tregua a few days ago.

The film was presented by the Police Chief Inspector and the director of decine21.com. It doesn’t come as a surprise that the many police officer wannabes who attended the screening had a lot to discuss about after the screening.

My Spanish is rusty to say the least so I apologize for not even trying to translate the article but from what I understand apart from pointing out the apparent differences in handling the crime between the American and the Spanish (or more widely, European) police corps I think it was well received.

Anyway, long live The Beard.

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GNSIII

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7 thoughts on “London Calling part II

  1. I’m loving all the great interviews! And it’s really a treat to hear what some of the directors over the course of his career think about Jake. Thanks for collecting it all and making it so handy for us to enjoy.
    You know, until recent years when I’ve been able to indulge my movie habit more often I never used to think about what it took to get a movie made. I never thought about how important and powerful the movie’s director is. After all, the reason for going to see a movie was to see the actors (sometimes the movie might even be good). Since I’ve started following Jake’s career he has educated me on so many aspects of what it takes to bring a good story to the screen – and I have a much better appreciation for the story being told. Thank you, Mr. Gyllenhaal!

    • You’re right Susan, following Jake’s career is educational on many levels. Just a tad more than a mere spectator myself, I might have recognized a good photography or maybe a well designed set provided that it was thrust under my nose but it’s different now. Jake often says that one of the things he likes about his job is the whole process of storytelling and now I can understand what he meant. There’s a lot more than just the actors’ work out there and kudos to Jake for reminding that to us.

    • By ‘a tad more’ than just a mere spectator I meant that I used to try and judge a film not only by its actors’ performances and that with much effort I would maybe recognize a good photography, but it’s only after I started to follow Jake’s career that I learned that there’s so much work behind a good film and I’m enjoying seeing films now with another perspective. So I’m grateful to Jake, too.

      • That sounds so much like me. I think I started noticing how good editing and artistic cinematography can enhance a story on film first and then I started enjoying commentaries on DVDs. I’ve always enjoyed old movies and it fascinates me to hear experts talk about what it is about them that makes them a classic that still entertains today. Sometimes I wonder why anyone bothers to spend millions of dollars to make some of the movies that get into theaters. Now I have discovered Indie films and I can appreciate the good ones for all the right reasons. I still like a big-budget big studio action/adventure flick, but I have higher standards now that must be met. 🙂

  2. @Susan:

    “Sometimes I wonder why anyone bothers to spend millions of dollars to make some of the movies that get into theaters”. I agree. Just think about the shower scene in Psycho. The perfect example of how basic and simple elements like music, set lights and a scream (with a touch from the genius, of course) turned a few seconds into one of the scariest murder scenes ever shot.

    One thing that I wish for Jake is to have one day the opportunity to work with a European director. in a recent interview he said he would love to, so there’s hope. With François Ozon for example (Jake’s co-jurist a the Berlinale last year), one of my favorites. I’ve always had a peculiar taste in films and high standards that must be met, too but I know Jake is going to give us more and more gems to enjoy. I for myself can’t wait for AN ENEMY, I just feel that that one will be mind-blowing.

    • TOTALLY agree about the Psycho shower scene. The entire movie is such genius! I think I’ll re-watch it before I see Hitchcock. What a treat that will be – Anthony Hopkins is awesome. Speaking of scary movies, one of my favorites is the 1931 Boris Karloff version of Frankenstein. Sitting in a dark room all alone watching it uninterrupted (when I was 30-something) allowed me to discover the power of cinematic images and gave me nightmares. That was some intense storytelling!
      I have great expectations for An Enemy as well. A dark and twisted psychological thriller done well is one of the best uses of modern film making. With Jake playing the double role, it can’t help but be incredible. If it isn’t, at this point I know enough to know that it’s the director’s fault!

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