That's how Mike Newell describes Jake Gyllenhaal, starring as the Prince of Persia. In an interview covering his long carer, as well as PoP, Newell discusses the real deal:
I’m wondering if you’ve seen other films that have been adapted from video games and sort of what your own approach has been to adapting this particular video game. And specifically, relating to the–
Well, I’ll tell you what it was. I mean, I can tell you what it was; I don’t want to lose part of the audience, but I knew what the guy looked like, I knew the world that he was in, I knew about sixth century Persia, I knew that he was a fantastic athlete and I had the huge good fortune of having Jake Gyllenhaal, who was a good athlete but who worked his socks off. You can’t know how hard he worked to make himself the physical personification of that tiny little video game character. And there he is, he’s real and he can ride and he can fight and he can shoot and he’s a marvelous action hero as well as being the guy that we know from ‘Brokeback Mountain’, who’s a fabulous actor. I was very, very fortunate with Jake. And so, what I was aiming to do was to not produce a simple copy of what was in the video game, but I wanted him to look like that, I wanted him to be able to fight like hell, and I wanted him to be a great action character. And that’s what he gave me. Then, we were very careful about certain kind of key sequences, big sequences in the movie. There’s a sequence– there’s a pursuit in a market, there are several huge fights, there’s the taking of the town…
The director then engages in a bit of NewelBabble when asked about casting actors of Middle Eastern descent:
Well, let me ask you this; you bring up Jake Gyllenhaal– and this can be my last question. I’m a huge fan of Mr Gyllenhaal, incredibly talented, one of the great actors of our generation, but I’m wondering if you at any point considered casting someone, you know, of Middle Eastern descent or something along those lines, in sort of keeping–
No, I did not. Now, I didn’t do that because what I felt was that this was going to be a great, big movie with– that was produced by one of the great brands of American culture– well, two of the great brands, if you like; I mean, you know, Disney is one and Jerry is another– and that therefore, what I should do was to look to their requirements first. But what I absolutely did do was to say that the girl should– and I looked very hard at a lot of actresses from Bollywood, for instance, and some from Turkey and some actually from Iran, two or three from Iran, and so I got very, very interested indeed in that.
And what stuck from that was the look of the girl and the behavior of the girl. In fact, what we had was the next kind of marvelous English actress out of the box. You know, she was 21 when we made the movie, and she’s absolutely tremendous. But those researches in the Bollywood girls and the Iranian girls and what not had left me with a very strong impression of how this girl should behave, what she should look like and the fact that she was a kind of aristocrat. And Jake is not an aristocrat at all; he’s a street kid who has found himself taken into a royal family because he’s an orphan and the King likes the look of him, and it’s a kind of crazy act of sentiment on the King’s part. “I like the look of you, boy. Come and you’re going to be my third son.” But with the girl, she, for me, needed to be very authentic indeed, and she needs to have this Eastern look to her. So the casting process, I never had any doubt. It was me that brought Jake in toward this. From the very first moment that I read it, I knew that he was, for me, the one to beat. I saw lots and lots of excellent people, but I never found anybody who beat my idea of the character, who did my idea of the character, better than Jake, and I convinced Jerry of that.
Huh? Love what he says about Jake. The rest doesn't quite make sense :) I think he's going to have to work on that answer, since it is definitely going to come up again. This one isn't going away.
Some images of "unreal" Jake and the PoP merchandise, taken at Toy Fair 2010:
Click here or here to see more LEGOS:
For the action figures, click here or here:
I really wish they'd worked harder to get closer to Jake's likeness. I saw a Megan Fox doll that was much closer to reality than Jake's!