Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"I think he makes a great Prince of Persia."

First came the pictures, now the words. Now that we've all seen the trailers for Jake Gyllenhaal's Prince of Persia, we're getting to hear from Jerry Bruckheimer, the movie's producer, and Jordan Mechner, who created the PoP video game.

From a transcript of the Jordan Mechner Q and A:

Q: The casting of Jake Gyllenhaal seemed to upset some people. What did you think of his performance, and what aspects of the prince does he bring out well?

JM: That kind of gets back to "who is the prince?" To me—and this goes back to the original game—to me, the Prince of Persia has always been a hero in the mold of Errol Flynn in Robin Hood, or Doug Fairbanks in The Thief of Baghdad, or Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. He's not this invincible warrior who is out looking for enemies to vanquish. He's more of an underdog. He fights with a sword, but he lives by his wits. He's got this sort of mischievous quality, this certain attitude and humor about him, and a vulnerability as well. You can see why the girl falls in love with him. I think Jake embodies all those qualities and captures them in a really appealing way. I think that comes through in the trailer as well. The action-hero side of the role, Jake took that very seriously. He did a lot of training, horseback riding, sword fighting, parkour, and he actually did a lot of his own stunts to a degree that movie stars usually don't. He's in fantastic shape, he worked really hard, so I think he makes a great Prince of Persia.

People who've never played the game - like me - might wonder if that will interfere with the enjoyment of the movie. Mechner doesn't think so:

Q: It's not a film that you would've had to have played the games to appreciate?

JM: Prince of Persia is a movie that I think can stand on its own without reference to the game. If you played the game, that can deepen your enjoyment of it on certain levels, but it's absolutely a movie for non-gamers as well. Jerry and Mike Newell have never seen this as a video game movie. A lot of what appealed to them about it was the chance to re-imagine this amazing world of One Thousand and One Nights with a level of technology and visual effects that's never been possible before. The last time Hollywood did a big A-level Arabian Nights movie was probably 1940, The Thief of Baghdad. I think it's a genre that's ready to be reinvented and the fact that Prince of Persia was a successful video game I think really helped. I'm really thrilled that Prince of Persia, this game I did 20 years ago on the Apple II, which was inspired by movies, could in its turn, become the vehicle to revisit this great genre, this world of One Thousand and One Nights.

Now here's a terrible idea!

Q: If they were to do a sequel for the film, do you think it would be more appropriate for them to have a different prince and different setting like the games, or just stick with this prince?

JM: That would be like turning forward the sands of time (laughter). I can't do that. The power of visions is only in the game.

This is the prince, people!

JoBlo has questions and answers from both Mechner and Bruckheimer. The reporter was excited and very positive about the movie:

We were told that the film recently scored as well as PIRATES OF the CARRIBEAN with test audiences. Bruckheimer seemed surprised that the film did really well with women. Epic romance in an ancient land...a shirtless Jake Gyllenhaal...yeeeah, I'm shocked too.

Really? What on earth could all those women be excited about?

From Coming Soon: Q: What makes this game translate well to screen?
Bruckheimer: I think it's the fact that it's so different than anything that's in the marketplace. You look at all the "Spider-Man's" and all the stuff that's coming out, "Iron Man" and all these "Transformers." This is so unique, so fresh and different. We just loved the character that Jordan created. So it takes you back to old ancient periods. The movie when you see it, it's like an old-fashioned, romantic adventure film. That's really what it is. It's like a "Lawrence of Arabia" with this kind of supernatural element added to it. But it's really a wonderful biblical story about jealousy. It goes back to all the primal fears and conflicts through history, so it embellishes upon interesting things. We found, we tested the movie a few weeks ago. It tested extraordinarily high. It surprised me because I always think these things are going to fail but this one turned out great. The women, I was surprised, I thought we made a terrific movie for the boys , but the women flipped over this film. I've never had a score where the parents, and there is violence, it's PG-13, the parents rated the film 100% excellent or very good which never happens. So it's one of these movies that we know they'll take their children to go see it which is a huge advantage for a film if the parents think it's cool that the kids can see it.

Some insight into the effects process:

What had to be developed to create all those visual effects with the sands of time and the sands of the collapsing temple?

Bruckheimer: What you do is you start with storyboards. Of course, it starts in Jordan's mind and the writers, and we give it to our production designer, and he takes it to another step and he takes it to the artists, and they start drawing things. [For] what we draw, we create animatics, you know, visual representations, what Jordan does. How he starts his games. And then we start embellishing. We do tests, embellishing on things we see and like. Create layers. Like the first time we did the dagger. Pushing the dagger into the sand. There was nothing going through his body. We just looked at a rough scene and stayed there. We started using the sand and the electricity going through his you keep layering it. When you see the movie in theaters, it will be more layers than what you've seen just now. Because we just didn't have time...

Can you talk about the casting of Jake and just kind of what you saw in him that made him the right choice?

Bruckheimer: I always thought he was...I still think he is a true movie star...the guy is going to be a huge romantic hero. He's handsome. He's a wonderful actor. I always wanted to work with him. We got very lucky that he liked the material and he wanted to do it. There was no other choice. I mean, he was the guy that we went after.

Can you talk about some of the physical training he had to go through?

Bruckheimer: A lot! He really worked hard He worked for months. Before the movie started. He trained every single day. He rode bikes, he lifted weights, he had a very specific diet. He couldn't eat any fats. It was really a lot of protein, and all during filming he was working out. In one hundred and twenty degree heat. Jordan said he saw him after a long day, at seven at night, taking a jog. Running. So he kept it up through the whole thing. He had a trainer with him. Both here and in Morocco. And when we were filming in London, he wanted to make sure he kept his physical characteristics the way he wanted them to be.

Yikes - remember that daily regimen Jake was on? It definitely paid off, but I can't imagine doing it for a week, let alone months.

Mechner: At the end of my first day on set, driving back to base camp, I saw him jogging. After this long day of 125 degree heat, he went for a jog. He had more muscles than his stunt doubles.

Now if we could just get Lionsgate to do some Brothers promotion... Even Sesame Street is promoting Jake! Well, okay, they are promoting their 40th season, but you get a glimpse of Jake in this preview:

(Screen caps courtesy of IHJ.)


UltraViolet said...

Bringing this over from the last post. There was a Jake reference at a poetry reading last month:

And my personal favorite, a reference to Jake Gyllenhaal’s sexy naked-with-Santa-hat dance in the film “Jarhead”:

“Jake Gyllenhaal, you are inconceivably beautiful, even in that Santa hat.”

I couldn’t agree more.

FL then posted:

I'm bemused by the Jake references we've read about over the past couple of years: Jake namechecked in a song, Jake namechecked in some Sarah Vowell work and now Jake namechecked in poetry by someone not related to him.

Are there any other mainstream Jake mentions in works of art I have forgotten?

I'm sure there are more, but right now, "Brokeback motherfucking Aquaman" is all I can think of :)

But it is fun to see Jake's name pop up when you're not expecting it.

UltraViolet said...

Long post, today, I know, but I did add the Sesame Street preview and a couple of caps of Jake from it. Too adorable to pass up!

agent_krycek said...

Oh here’s a story about a boy named Jake
Nothing he did would ever get in my way
But there’s still a long long way to go (snip)

I’ve only ever seen his face on film
I’ve only ever heard the lines he’d say
But still they won’t get in my way (snip)

All my dreams are built around your face
And this place
All the times of staring at the sun
You’re the one
All my dreams are built around your face
And this place
All the times of staring at the sun
You’re the one

Abbreviated lyrics from Amy McDonald's track LA - most lyric site inexplicably have the boy's name as Jay, but it's, without doubt, Jake, as confirmed by Amy

Seriously, Jerry B couldn't understand why women were so keen on this film :o

bobbyanna said...

"Too adorable to pass up!"

Most excellent post, UV!

FL I'm convinced were almost at the point where,when someone says "Jake,"the whole world will know who they mean! :)

I can't help but think that Jake will be two or three years older when he starts the sequel(s) for PoP. I hope they "banked" some of his moves, leaping and jumping, etc. for the next time. He went thru such an arduous training schedule I felt exhausted for him!Ad that diet! Bleh!

UltraViolet said...

It was hard tog et all the best quotes in the post - here's a good part, from JoyStiq:

So, why did you choose Jake Gyllenhaal for this role?

Mechner: I can talk about why I think Jake is great in the role. I know that he is really into the games and took that very seriously.

I wonder if that's true or made-up lore? Hee. I don't remember Jake saying he was into the game ever. But he hasn't really been interviewed about this, so who knows.

Mechner: I know he was speaking with a British accent in between takes.

At the end of my first day on set, driving back to base camp, I saw him jogging. After this long day of 125 degree heat, he went for a jog. He had more muscles than his stunt doubles.

I might have to incorporate that last quote into the post!

Office of Nancy Pelosi said...

Jake overload!! That muppet Jake with must be new, yes this was too adorable to pass up!

Thanks for the Q&A transcript with Merchner and Bruckheimer, can't wait for them to post the facebook questions.

I love how Jake's name seem to randomly pop up, I think that there was another poet that dedicated a poem to Jake as well.

Poor Jake, what a yucky diet, at least he was allowed an expresso!

Bette said...

Yeah I want to know if he did that scene where he flips off the ledge? If so go Jake, I think that really would take some guts. I'd do it if I was him just to have had the experience? Specially if you knew safety harnesses, etc would catch you.

Jake fan said...

Thanks so much for the q/a interviews - very interesting reading!

Has anyone seen this:

"Fact for fact fans: some of Jake Gyllenhaal's voice on new Persia trailer is actually dubbed by... Nolan North! Because he is amazing"

Could it be true?

Why all the fuss? said...

You can hear on the trailer that some of the voiceover might not be Jake. Heck, some of the female voice doesn't sound like Gemma. But the actual dialogue, where you can see Jake talking, is clearly Jake.

Josie said...

Yes Jake makes a great Prince of Persia!! What a great read, thanks so much for the link.

Keep bringing on the Jake goodies!!
What a cute picture of Jake and the octopus/muppet, I can't believe i'm excited over the season premiere of Sesame Street, LOL!

The reference to Jake by that Scottish band is my favorite so far.

The voice over/dubbing on the trailer happens quite often, no biggie. It's clearly Jake talking when for the most part.

mary said...

thanks for all these nice articles on the q&a with jerry b and jordanalso very cute pic of jake with the octopus thanks again

UltraViolet said...

De nada, Mary :)

Here's a nice defense of Jake as the Prince. Nice to read someone else saying all the things many of us have said.

Monica said...

Fans of the game in Brazil are anxious and have read much praise of Jake. I am impressed with the enormous amount of praise for the trailer and Jake.

I loved the video of Sesame Street, UV!
Thank you!

Monica said...

I saw the trailer on Disney Channel!
Much better to see in a larger screen!

Chica said...

Jerry was surprised that women were excited about Jake?? Jerry if you only knew!

I enjoyed reading that, what a great post!! Prince of Persia and Sesame Street! I'm really loving the caps from the trailer, he looks amazing.

That blogger makes some great points and all true. I wish people would stop with the he isn't Persian and why does he speak with a British accent. It's based on the video game people and Disney got it right!

Debbie said...

This latest "tweet" about the voice dubbing is complete nonsense. Nolan North is supposed to be the voice on the game, so there's this actual "movement" afoot to convince people that he is dubbing Jake's voice and it's not even a little bit true!

I'm sick of the way people continue to TRY to bring Jake down or marginalize him.

He's an ACTOR. He can do things with his voice, his hair, his physicality, etc. and with the illusions of movie making, he can alter everything you think you know about him. He can't stay Donnie Darko or Jack Twist his whole life!
Sorry for the rant.

Anonymous said...

Well said. Anyway, I think Prince of Persia is going to be great. The action in it is just amazing.

Anonymous said...

It's laughable all the "he's not Persian" nonsense! Also,actors learn to use a British accent in Acting Class 101! It's pretty basic.

This is a great post. I'm still laughing about Jerry's comments. He has to know what most women think of Jake.

suvee said...

I still think he is a true movie star...the guy is going to be a huge romantic hero.

That quote made me instantly think of Ang Lee's take on Jake.... how he saw him as a great romantic leading man. Couldn't agree more. :)

And it's hard for me to believe someone as savvy as Jerry B. was surprised that women reacted so favorably to PoP. I mean, really?

Loved the Sesame Street clip, and really loved the Naomi On a Plane story. Thanks, UV!

Debbie, well said..... ITA.

Anonymous said...

I know - I'm also really looking forward to the Prince's backstory - where this street Prince came from.

Sheba baby said...

Jerry sounds a bit clueless with that bit about Jake! He will soon find out the true appeal of Mr. G once Pop comes out next year.

I grew up with Sesame Street, what a wonderful show. I'm so happy that Jake is doing this, make me love him more if that's possible.

ITA Debbie.

Anonymous said...

Do take exception to the comment about if someone wanted to say Jake can't act then that's o.k.
Know what - It's not. Because saying that is something that is never (that i'm aware of) said about him.
If the guy who invented the Prince of Persia thinks Jake is great in the role and brings to it all the qualities he felt the Prince had then I think it begins and ends there.
Again there was such a thing about Daniel Craig being James Bond that all kinds of things were said about how bad he would be in the role, etc. long before anyone ever saw anything of it. And it kept on. When the movie was out I'm sure there were some who still didn't like him in the role but the others were pretty well quiet after that.
We've only seen "hardly anything" of the movie yet. Things will not be put-together scenes, but an actual full story we will see.
We'll see how the Prince came to be who he was. We'll see full scenes of he and the Princess.
These people who are trying to denegrade Jake in the role are such a small percentage that they aren't even a blip on the radar.
Speaking of jealosy being the basis for the movie as in people wanting what others have. I think that might work in this situation too.

Anonymous said...

and "jealousy" too.....

Monica said...

New Brothers pics:
Entertainment Weekly

Source: IHJ

Kendra said...

these screencaps are so funny, thanks, UV!

mary said...

i guess the people who say jake cant act conviently forgot that hes has an oscar nomination to his credit but who cares what other people think we just love jake for himself

Anonymous said...

Yankees win World Series.

Yaaay! (Sorry.)

UltraViolet said...

I could delete that comment but I'll try to be the better person.