Monday, September 28, 2009

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.)


UltraViolet said...

The girl who took a picture with Jake - described in the PPG article: If you look for her on Facebook, you can see the picture. Not sure she wants it public for the whole world, so I didn't post it.

Also, if you want a copy of the entire article translation, just post your e-mail and I'll send it to you. If I know who you are :)

Thanks to you know who you are for the tip on the article.

Chica said...

Wow, this is great!! I love reading the part you posted and would love to read the entire article. I'll send you my e-mail.

Love that article about Jake being spotted all over Pittsburgh, sounds like everything is going smoothly and he is enjoing the city and the fans. I saw the pic on facebook, another lucky fan!!

What a great way to start the week, thanks UV!

sass said...

This is a great article and a wonderful way start my day. TY:)

bobbyanna said...

He's pleasant to the ear, blinds with his perfect smile, and he's beautiful! Who needs a better translation! :)
You've done a great job, UV. I'd love the read the entire article, too.

The Philly map is cute!

UltraViolet said...

Sent to all who asked, and who didn't - I sent you a copy, Sass :)

It was a fun read. I look forward to hearing the other accounts.

FluorescentLamp said...

Courthouse Tavern? When was this? I remember no Courthouse Tavern sightings/mentions. That's waaaay over in downtown, much out of the CZ. Hmm...curious.

Yeah I guess their Jake Sightings map is...okay. La la la.

From the article brilliantly translated by UV:

Very at ease, of a disconcerting kindness ...

And there it is again. :-) I'm so happy to always read this type of description of Jake rather than "he was assy and full of himself.

Office of Nancy Pelosi said...

The translation was fine UV, sounds like they were blinded by Jake's charm and beauty! Would love to read the whole thing too, thanks.

Love that map, this shoot in Pittsburgh is going to be fun following!

UltraViolet said...

Philosopher Jake? :)
Our seats were ridiculously good. We were five rows behind the Dodgers dugout — close enough to hear the players talking to each other. It was still raining a bit — the usher had to wipe our seats off with a ShamWow — but it wasn’t awful and the game started at 7:05 p.m., right on schedule.

Sitting directly behind us was actor Jake Gyllenhaal of ”Brokeback Mountain” fame, along with some other Hollywood types, including director Edward Zwick. (I later learned that Gyllenhall is filming a movie in Pittsburgh with Anne Hathaway, who, sadly, was not in attendance.)

I am not a starfucker by any stretch of the imagination, but it was hard not to eavesdrop on some of the dialogue unfolding behind us. At one point, one of the guys in Gyllenhall’s entourage noted that the Pirates have the least errors of any team in the National League but are still mired in last place.

“That’s just like life,” Gyllenhall replied. “If you aren’t willing to make mistakes, you’re never going to get anywhere.”

I can’t quit you, Jake!

Gyllenhaalics said...

Very at ease, of a disconcerting kindness, blinding us with his perfect smile, Jake is brief but pleasant to listen to.

Great article. Thanks , UV!

“That’s just like life,” Gyllenhall replied. “If you aren’t willing to make mistakes, you’re never going to get anywhere.”

An intelligent man.

Monica said...

It's me!

I am the manager of the blog.

Sheba baby said...

I'm loving all these Pop goodies, the translation is great UV, blinds with his perfect smile, sigh. Thank you so much.

I love reading all these wonderful things about Jake, he can charm the birds out of the trees! Fans in Pittsburgh are so lucky, I'm so grateful they are on their toes!

I doubt that their will be any filming in Pittsburgh or Philly today due to the Yom Kippur holiday.

I had no idea you had a blog monica, it looks great!

Sheba baby said...

I love that sighting at the Pirates/Dodgers ballgame. Jake has really grown to be a very intelligent and sexy man.

You are so good at finding these tidbits UV, great detective work!

Anonymous said...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
"Riot police lob gas grenades Friday night following a student protest near Schenley Plaza. Activists with the Thomas Merton Center and other groups today blasted the police response to a Friday night protest in Oakland following the G-20 summit, calling it a "military-style occupation" that resulted in the gassing and arrest of dozens of bystanders, including students and journalists."

Read more:

Looking at that map, is this something that happened close to where Jake was?

FluorescentLamp said...

General vicinity, Anon.

I saw some pics on Flickr where many of the shops on Walnut Street (part of the CZ) were boarded during that incident. While I think the threat was real - judging by the number of riot police on detail, and the number of protesters - it never evolved into an all-out riot. Thank god.

Anonymous said...

Well I know he filmed at least 1 day in Oakland, I think that it was before G20. From the twitters it soiunds like he and the cast are staying Shadyside, not too sure how close it is to what went on but the G20 summit is over now.

bobbyanna said...

I just finished calling my Senator, bcz they'll be voting on public option amendments to the healthcare reform bill this afternoon. It felt really good! I actually spoke to a human person instead of a recording. I briefly told them how I felt, I was polite of course. They listen...politely... and said they would "note my position" and make sure the Senator knew about the calls. I hope they get a kazillion calls today.

It's worrisome to think the police action might have happened near where Jake is. But I'm sure he's fine. Maybe he decamped to Philly...for safety's sake. :)

FluorescentLamp said...

While all that was going on in the Oakland and Lawrenceville sections of Pittsburgh, Jake and crew were filming, eating and basically carrying on with their lives and work in Squirrel Hill and Shadyside. I'm sure if there were an imminent threat to cast and crew they would have been advised to stay indoors.

Office of Nancy Pelosi said...

I did the same Bobbyanna, I was shocked when I actually got to speak to a human, that doesn't happen too often unfortuntaely. I hope everyone calls their Senator, this is so crucial and important.

Here is a site with a list of Senators and their contact info:

It doesn't sound like the protests last week had any effect on flming in Pittsburgh. filming.

bobbyanna said...

You know, Michigan, where I am, has initiated all these ridiculous tax incentives for filmmakers to shoot movies here. We've had George Clooney, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Ewan McGregor, and tons of other actors coming thru spending anywhere from a few days, to weeks at a time, and it would be so cool if Jake could shoot a movie here! I have a large family room with space to accomodate some weekend guests with cellphone cameras...or any other kind of cameras!
(If I lived in Pittsburgh I would be getting tons of fresh air and be out walking a lot. :)

bobbyanna said...

I forgot!
Great,OONP! I knew you were "there!" LOL!

UltraViolet said...

I'm pretty sure Jake was fine - he wasn't too traumatized to go to the ballgame. And it looks like the neighborhood was safe enough for Reese to make a visit :)

Missing neuro sci because I'm scheduled to work today. ugh! missed jake yet again (Sunday), with Reese in tow :/

I think this was at Pamela's again. The Pittsburgh CZ takes shape!

Also, for a nice rundown on Pittsburgh's neighborhoods, I saw this article.

Anonymous said...

Nice! I love neighborhoods. :)

Monica said...

Bobbyana, Ewan McGregor was in your town and you don't tell me??

suvee said...

Very at ease, of a disconcerting kindness....

That just might become one of my favorite descriptions of Jake. Disconcerting kindness...... what a lovely translation!

And I really enjoyed the Philosopher Jake story. Thanks for all the goodies, UV..... great post today!

get real said...

Thanks for the continued awesome PoP info!

Such great sightings!! Glad he is out and about in Pittsburgh and that Reese could visit him. And his comment at the Pirates game is certainly true. :D

OONP and Bobbyanna, thankfully I have gotton through to my Senator, Schumer, to voice my support for the public option. Very grateful that he is one of the ones strongly backing and submitting/pushing the public option in the Finance Committee. Really hoping the vote goes well and they vote YES!

On topic...Jake is looking hot! :D

bobbyanna said...

I'm sorry, Monica! I only found out about it long after he left! LOL!! In fact, the movie was released already, (altho I can't remember the name of it,) and you know how long that process usually takes.

FluorescentLamp said...

Uh. Oh.

He's moved away from the CZ.

Jake at Dish

Jake Gyllenhal just said what's up to me as he walked into Dish.

(Dish Osteria is on the South Side of Pittsburgh. Far far away from the comfort of the zone.)

bobbyanna said...

Hi,Get Real. It just felt good to me, to make that call and actually talk to someone. The entire healthcare reform process, dicsussions, etc. has been an extremely frustrating, disgusting, exasperating experience, for a lot of reasons. Don't even want to get into them. All I will say is I really, really miss Ted Kennedy.

Extra said...

You did a great job translating that article UV, in any language he is plesent to the ear and has a smile that blinds.

How wonderful it is to hear all the fan reacations to Jake in Pittsburgh and how he is enjoying the city while filming.

I had a feeling Reese popped over for a visit!

Extra said...

Photo from today of Jake and Oliver Platt filming in Alluippa. Reese and Atticus was there according to this story!:

Monica said...

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


How often this should happen to Jake?

UltraViolet said...

Hee - I was posting as you guys were :)

New post.

Feel free to discuss the PoP article there - have people read it? I thought it was fascinating.