With Brothers opening on Friday, director Jim Sheridan has given us some further insight into directing Jake Gyllenhaal:
... Jake is a kind of very - I kind of say Jake is a 360-degree actor. You know, he's watching what's going on 360 degrees, and it's like almost as if his family background, with his mother as a writer and dad as a director, has allowed him to live in the world of movies like a normal person, and he's great, and he's - like anybody who's really talented, they're kind of very odd, you know? I don't mean odd in the bad way. They just - they're alive, and they're not easily malleable, but an easily malleable actor is really a boring actor, you know?
New York Magazine reviewer David Edelstein, gives Sheridan kudos for the job he did with Jake and all the actors.
Empathy must come as naturally as breathing to the Irishman Jim Sheridan, director of My Left Foot, In America, and now the overpoweringly intimate Brothers. Working with screenwriter David Benioff (25th Hour), he skips among three protagonists and emotional states without losing the story’s pulse: Every narrative beat is also a heartbeat. ... Sheridan gets inside his characters’ heads without ever viewing them in isolation: Even separated by continents, no one can move without hitting someone else.
Who could have guessed that the stars who made their names as nerd heroes Peter Parker and Donnie Darko could be so credibly messed-up and volatile? Maguire isn’t big, but his tautness radiates strength. ...
As to the other two leads, Sheridan has gotten the best performances of their young lives. As much as I like Gyllenhaal, I’ve often found him fuzzy, as if he’s wary of losing control. Is that why he’s so affecting here? The dissolute Tommy turns out to be as tightly wound as his older brother, only too scared to focus. He looks pitifully vulnerable as he the supposedly dead Sam’s family and becomes protective. Portman has the kind of role that turns actresses into dullards: the wife who stands and looks stricken at her man (or men) in paroxysms of rage and grief. But she’s so grounded that as the others carry on, your eyes keep drifting to her. Yes, she’s almost unbearably pretty, but it’s her immediacy that keeps you glued to her face.
... Sheridan’s actors work with their intellects fully engaged—and they engage us on levels we barely knew we had.
As we know, the gossip game came full circle yesterday. Let's hope we return to Brothers news today. Please post if you see any noteworthy reviews or interviews.
(Photos courtesy of IHJ.)