Monday, September 28, 2009

Spidey in Pittsburgh!

Lots of fun for Jake Gyllenhaal, Oliver Platt and the cast and crew on the set of Love and Other Drugs today in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.

The stars were out Monday under a fake rain in Aliquippa.

Jake Gyllenhaal, the Oscar-nominated actor, repeatedly dashed across the soggy asphalt outside the former Aliquippa Hospital, performing a scene for the movie “Love & Other Drugs.”

In a tent off to the side sat his sweetie, Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon, in town just to watch, while Gyllenhaal’s German shepherd, Atticus, patiently waited in a trailer.

The local school system must not be highly rated, as some youngsters apparently do not know that Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire are not the same person!

“Hey Spider-Man,” said Joey Hages, 19, of Aliquippa, who shook Gyllenhaal’s hand.

“Did you like ‘Spider-Man 3’?” Gyllenhaal asked politely, not letting on that it was Tobey Maguire who played that superhero role.

Aww - what was that about disconcerting kindness?

What are thery teaching kids in school these days?

Here's the hospital:

Hope Atticus enjoys his time here in the East!

(Article in Beaver County Times written by Scott Tady; photo by Lucy Schaly. Hospital photo by Joe Wojcik of the Pittsburgh BusinessTimes.)

Prince de Perse: Dans les Coulisses: A very beautiful and very impressive Dastan

I think that means "Behind the scenes of Prince of Persia." A French movie site has posted an account of a PoP set visit at Pinewood Studios in London. We've heard about this before, always with the caveat that the journos were sworn to secrecy. Well DVD Drama has finally given us a glimpse of the visit, in two parts. There are impressions of the sets, the costumes, the weapons cache, the director and the actors, including Jake Gyllenhaal.

With a huge budget of $150 Million, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time has been underway for 57 days under the eye of director Mike Newell. After several weeks of filming in Morocco in the towns of Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Oukaimeden and Aït Benhaddou, the whole team moved to the suburbs of London and the enormous Pinewood Studios, home the famous 007 franchise. Your humble servant thus had the chance, accompanied by a handful of journalists from around the world, to go for two days behind-the-scenes of one of the most awaited productions of 2010. Larger than life, fantastic and frankly exciting, it was possible to meet all the main players and we will be able to hear interviews with the actors (Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Gemma Arterton…), the producer Jerry Bruckheimer, but also the director of the special effects, the stunt coordinator, the artistic director and the costumer! The whole program.

We can nevertheless discover some sequences to come and in particular those from the famous "return in time." A combat scene with Nizam (Ben Kingsley), the evil uncle of Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), being held in middle of the night and filming with two snakes. The casting impresses, and initial doubts about the legitimacy of Jake as an actor dissipate with the sight of the frames where he appears. He makes a very beautiful and very impressive Dastan. The young Gemma Arterton, discovered recently in Quantum of Solace, becomes the princess Tamina. A good choice at first sight.

12h30: We leave stage 007 to find the actress Gemma Arterton, who offers 25 minutes of her time to us to speak about her role. We will come back to her, but the actress, charming and available, talks with enthusiasm about her days of filming, sometimes much more trying than she could have imagined.

She evokes for the first time the chaotic filming in Morocco a few weeks before and which no doubt left after-effects for the whole production team. One wants to know more, the roundtable continues, but Gemma remains discreet. She is effusive in praise for Mike Newell and his cohorts, but in such an organized and formal setting, one could not expect other remarks. Poor Gemma will learn a few hours later that it's not always easy to appear in a production with such a large budget and its costs. But the gossip comes later.

11.30: Sir Ben Kingsley joins us in the interview room to answer our questions. The actor is made up and dressed to shoot a scene. His legendary coolness pervades the room. Nothing to say, Ben has class. He briefly mentions his role as Nizam, explaining that this is an evil role of a dark character that never sinks to caricature and which certainly promises a lot of surprises. He will be both a mentor and enemy for Dastan and it seems that his weapons of choice give a hard time to the film's hero.

Indeed, he brought with him a replica of his staff that can give life to a few snakes with specific characteristics. One of the key sequences of the film is the battle between Nizam's snakes and Dastan in a desert - a scene that we will discover a few hours later. Ben Kingsley added that his participation in this type of film is rather rare, but it has been a real pleasure for several weeks. We certainly believe it.

1400: Jake Gyllenhaal has a few minutes to spare. His shooting schedule is packed but in costume, he comes to tell us about his experience on the film. Very at ease, of a disconcerting kindness, blinding us with his perfect smile, Jake is brief but pleasant to listen to. He speaks well of Morocco, the heat wave that has nearly done in a good part of the crew (remember Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark), the intensive training in order to undertake the various exploits he must accomplish in the movie and his uncompromising determination to do the majority of the stunts himself (we've heard that somewhere). In short, the conversation is marked and we do not learn much about the movie itself.

Michael Singer thanks us warmly for our presence these last two days and hopes we find a movie worthy of our expectations. Indeed, the production seems to have gone all out by creating an epic production that we hope everyone will see, too. We leave Pinewood Studios. It is already beginning to get dark. The security gate closes behind our minibus, which takes gently off to London.

To enjoy Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, we will now wait until May 26, 2010. As will you.

But don't wait to read the article! If you speak French, you'll enjoy it even more,I'm sure. I did translate both articles, but I hope we see a better translation at some point.

A fun item from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Jake's getting to know - and to be known - around town.

Mr. Gyllenhaal, whose accomplishments range from earning an Academy Award nomination for "Brokeback Mountain" as a lovelorn cowhand to singing a wicked parody of a "Dreamgirls" showstopper while hosting "Saturday Night Live," is in town to film the drama "Love and Other Drugs."

He's been out and about, so much so that it seems as if everyone -- or their friend -- has spotted the Hollywood star.

From a Peruvian restaurant in Shadyside to a Downtown bar, with Whole Foods in between, Mr. Gyllenhaal isn't shy about sampling life in the 'Burgh. Filming continues in the coming weeks, with one of Mr. Gyllenhaal's "Brokeback" co-stars, Anne Hathaway, due to arrive early next month.

(PoP articles courtesy of DVD Drama/Kévin Dutot. Translation by GyllenBabble - and Google. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article by Maria Sciullo; illustration by James Hilston.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Funny Boy

Stephanie just uploaded some stills from Jake Gyllenhaal's memorable Saturday Night Live appearance from January, 2007. It all started out routinely - albeit beautifully. Jake appeared for the monologue and was wearing what looked like an awfully loose suit:

Then things took off! Or Jake did. He stripped off the suit to reveal a stunning gown and set of pipes. Behold JEffie:

I cannot tell you how many times I played that clip! Here is a
version, if for some reason you still haven't seen it or just want to relive the moment!

Oh, and here's how JEffie might have looked - from dress rehearsal. They definitely picked the better wig:

Some of the other show highlights. I have a soft spot for Frank O'Connor - as did the Bronx Beat ladies:

Finally - who could forget the evil Dr. Scientist from Laser Cats 2:

To go back to the Sands of Time theme from yesterday, I snagged a couple of photos from the
Sydney Morning Herald of yesterday's Sydney dust storm. Amazing, beautiful, ethereal - remind you of anyone/anything? Also, no doubt, a huge hassle. But the images are stunning:

And here's the prince who wants to control what controls the sands of time - in Lego form:

Some more photos of the PoP Lego line. Just prototypes. Someone suggested they used Indy's face for the Prince. At least, I think that's what the comment meant.

Oh, and don't forget the Ain't It Cool early PoP review.

(Photos courtesy of IHJ, flickr/The Green Giant and the Sydney Morning Herald.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

First PoP review

From Ain't It Cool:

Generally positive, though the reviewer himself was ambivalent. Solid acting and design. Nice action and effects. Pacing needs work. Issues with the story. But thumbs up for Jake Gyllenhaal and the rest of the cast:

The problem with this movie isn't the actors (who all speak in a quasi-british accent, but since everyone is doing it, it was fine), the pacing, the macguffin (dagger of time), or the action. The main problem lies with the script. Everything that happens in this movie is very predictable, and it being a Disney movie, you can guess the plot points well before they happen. But the problem really lies with the middle, ultimate conclusion, and the tone of the movie. Without spoiling anything, the middle is very repetitious and introduces us to some characters that really serve no purpose to the story whatsoever (Alfred Molina and crew, Hassasins).

As mentioned above, they did get many things right. The actors are all fine in their roles and there is a nice camaraderie with Dastan and his two brothers, as well as good chemistry between Dastan and Tamina. The movie was a little over two hours and it moved at a very good pace with only a couple of slow spots, but nothing really needs to be cut or added to this movie. The cinematography was good as well with some pretty epic shots that will come together nicely when the cgi is done. The action is very parkour-esque with a lot of running and jumping off of walls, etc. There is quite a lot of action, but some of it is action for action sake and doesn't serve the story, but is interesting and entertaining nonetheless. Finally, we get to the coolest part of the movie, the dagger of time. Every time the dagger is used (about three or four times throughout the film) it becomes the next bright spot of the film. It is a very cool effect and creates some very good scenes. I really wished that they had used it more in the film because it really brought the quality and creativeness up a notch.

After the film, the group was asked to raise their hands to see how many liked it, and of the 35, 30 or so raised their hands. I realize I am in the minority, but there were many families there who really enjoyed this movie. This is a movie with mass appeal, and if edited right could possibly be rated PG (there really is no violence and no swearing whatsoever). Most agreed that an 8 year old could see this film and not be troubled. Some 14 year old said it blew his mind. I just felt that I had seen this movie done better before other times and that they messed up the ending.

So a similar complaint to the earlier tweeter, but a 6/10, up from a five. And good news on the general audience response.

I imagine my reaction will match the 14 year-old's :)

Many thanks to Beaks from Ain't It Cool for the honest review.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Prince in action

Disney has updated its Prince of Persia website, with some new action photos of star Jake Gyllenhaal. For the full effect, click the link and see these shots in rapid motion:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

All Princes, great and small

So before the D23 hoopla, we learned that Jake Gyllenhaal and the rest of the Prince of Persia cast would be immortalized - or you know, just commercialized - in a line of toys. What we didn't realize was that one site might have actually snagged a picture of the Prince. Not sure where they got it, but we're trying to find out to make sure it's the real deal. Sure looks it:

For comparison:

Looks like they got a lot of the detail just right:

The hands aren't quite to scale, as in the D23 mannequin, but the face is really well done. As is the body armor:

From miniature to gigantor, Celebutopia has the PoP official photos in very large size:

Those did not come out as large as they can be - check out this link and click for the biggest version. Get your frames ready :)

Nice video review of Jake's career - thanks to Monica for the link:

(Photo of the action figure courtesy of InsidePulse.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

U.S. Open Monday

Taking a little break, getting a spiffy new 'do, before heading off to Pittsburgh, Jake, Peter, actor and friend Ebon Moss-Bachrach (who was fabulous as John Quincy Adams in the HBO miniseries John Adams last year by the way) and Doug Liman (along with Tony Bennett, Bruce Willis and Constantine Maroulis) take in the U.S. Open on Monday in Long Island.

And of course, sad news out of Hollywood tonight on the passing of Patrick Swayze. He'll be missed.

Pics from IHJ.