Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"He’s real and he can ride and he can fight and he can shoot..."

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!


UltraViolet said...

A little bit more about the concert last night:

It’s good to be in Los Angeles during Oscar season because you get to attend events like the one Hitfix went to last night: a star-studded party held for “Crazy Heart” with performances by the movie’s Oscar nominees Jeff Bridges, T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham.

Did we mention yet that Sir Elton John joined them on stage, as did co-star/Oscar winner Robert Duvall and Harry Dean Stanton? And that fellow “Crazy Heart” nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal and her brother Jake were grooving to the performances as were Jon Hamm, Jennifer Westfeldt, Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson and Peter Fonda?

Held at Vibrato, a restaurant/jazz club off famed Mulholland Drive and owned by Herb Alpert, the party, thrown by New West Records, which released the movie’s fantastic soundtrack, had no red carpet or paparazzi outside. Inside there were no VIP or roped off areas.

bobbyanna said...

What a cool party!

I just realized it, but I'm very fond of Mike Newell!:)

I think I'll opt for an action figure instead of Legos.

Anonymous said...

Gah, that sounds so exciting. :)

UltraViolet said...

Yes, Mike Newell is a gem! Didn't we hear about on-set strife between him and Jake? I wonder if that was exaggerated or if things didn't go as well as Mike had hoped for the working relationship. We'll probably never know.

It does sound like it was a great party!

bobbyanna said...

UV, I've decided.I'm not going to pay attention to all that "strife on the set" stuff anymore. Sounds like they're fine, Mike clearly loves him, and whatever MIGHT have actually happened is probably ordinary stress-when-making-movies stuff. I love to hear directors talk about wanting Jake!

Monica said...

It's a great interview!
I think all these conflicts are normal. And I believe they managed to resolve these differences. I hope.

I like to know how much he believed in the potential of Jake for the film.

UltraViolet said...

Good thinking, Bobbyanna.

People has a bit on Jake's Oscar advice for Maggie. Nothing we haven't already read, but they use one of those great orange-tie photos of Jake (with Maggie in a white dress).

UltraViolet said...

I agree, Monica. It is all part of the process. And it's a good interview. I'd love to see them do a nice, in-depth one like that with Jake.

And it is wonderful to hear how much he believed in Jake.

bobbyanna...again, said...

FYI: Robert Downey, Jr. visited the Toy Fair to pose with his Iron Man action figure...the new H'wood status symbol???:)

Chica said...

Sounds like Newell caught a bit of the Gyllenbabble! I don't remember hearing about any problems with Jake and Newell but in this interview he clearly sounds like Jake's biggest fan!

The action figures look really cool but I wish that they looked more like Jake.

What a great group of people at that concert last night!

Monica said...


lawgoddess said...

The Avatar picture is cool.

I liked the interview about Jake; thanks for posting it.

I'm glad Maggie is having fun and getting some attention this year. And I hope she can find something to wear to the Oscars that isn't a schmatte like the one she wore to the luncheon. ( meow!)

JoeAnn said...

Jake makes a handsome Navi, lol. Can't believe Cameron passed on him. Jake's a much better actor.

Office of Nancy Pelosi said...

Even blue Jake looks hot, thanks Monica!

Love this interview. I'm so glad to read how much Newell trusted and believed in Jake. Interesting that he had no problem casting Jake as Dastan but was looking at actresses from Bollywood, Iran to play the princess in the beginning.

I wish they could go back to the drawing board with these action figures, I really wanted them to look like Jake.

Harry Dean Stanton was at that concert too?? I haven't heard about him in ages!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Jake makes an amazing Na'vi. :)

Bacchaus said...

Love the article, thanks!:) :)

Happy Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras everyone!

shoe89 said...

it says here that jake will be attending an event for the hungry in america project that his friend natalie portman will be a part of. i don't know if he is going to the ny or la one...probably the la one.


get real said...

Wow, so much great stuff going on...love it. :D

So thrilled with Mike Newell's comments about Jake. Even though he did get into Newell-babble about he how he came to casting Gemma, lol. It is wonderful how he was so effusive over Jake and how he championed him for the role and how hard Jake worked. So great to hear.

Love to hear all the Tweets about the party/concert that Jake/Maggie and the whole CH crew attended. OMG, OMG, Jake and Jon Hamm(SWOON!!!), Jeff Bridges and Elton John....SQUEE!!!! So freaking cool.

Good to see all the action figures/Legos for PoP, although I agree they could look a bit more like Jake. Although Avatar Jake is most awesome!

Jake is prepared for the paps in that car pic, but it looks like his friend is not. I don't think he looked tipsy as some said.

Also, have to say I really respect Jake's comments about the Oscars to Maggie. I think it helps to be realistic.

I agree that her work in Sherrybaby was really the stuff of Oscar but I am very happy she got a nomination. And I actually think she looks very nice at the Oscar luncheon *ducks* I don't always like what she wears either. She sometimes looks absolutely gorgeous and other times it is like wtf.

And congrats to Peter on the SB Film Fest.

Thanks for all the links, pics, Tweets, etc.

Great stuff! :D

bobbyanna said...

"was sad to have to cut my cali trip short but GLAD when I sat in my seat on plane and Jake Gyllenhaal sat down in front of moi!!! "
11 minutes ago from web

This girl gives her home location as Montreal.

UltraViolet said...

Bobbyanna, her next tweet was even better:

he is BEYOND words!!! GORGEOUS!!!

Lucky woman.

So I guess Jake has some Source Code work to do in Montreal.

No need to duck, get real. I bet Peter thought Maggie looked nice, too :)

Thanks for the info on the fundraiser, shoe! Jake is not only friends with Natalie but also with Mario Batali. Jake also has a Colicchio connection beyond just liking Craft.

Will be interesting to see if Jake attends one or both of the events.

Oh, and thanks for Avatar Jake, Monica. That's probably as much of Avatar as I'll see :)

UltraViolet said...

Ben Kingsley is on Letterman for anyone still up. Doubt he'll mention PoP, but you never know.

Also, forgot to say hello and Happy Mardi Gras to Bacchus :)

This comedian has been cast in Source Code. Not sure I've heard of him, though he apparently has made a lot of money as a comedian!

mary said...

sounds like he starts filming his scenes on feb 23 so maybe jake will be starting filming earlier then we thoght if hes already in montreal i guess well find out soon

Monica said...

I was thinking of Source Code before reading this news.Thanks UV and Bobbyana.

I remember the filming were scheduled for early March, so it was time for Jake to go there.

UltraViolet said...

Yeah, they could be having rehearsals. I think Duncan Jones tweeted that filming was from March 1 to May 1.

Looks like Russell Peters has a twitter account, as well.

Let's hope les Canadiens do good twittering!

Sheba baby said...

Love reading Mike Newell's interview although it was a bit confusing! The parts I did get : He loved working with Jake which is great.

I think I like the Legos more than the action figures because legos aren't really suppose to look life-like.

Looks like Jake is in Montreal for rehearsals for SC, I hope we get as many twets as when he was filming LAOD!

bobbyanna said...

Good morning, all! Some random stuff I found: IMDB said Jake was participating in a documentary about Jamie Foxx. Also, I looked at the casting of Source Code, and there's another person with a comedy background, besides Russell Peters,in the cast. He's from Montreal, and his name is
Brent Skagford.

Montreal is not far from NYC, so we will probably have Jake sightings in both places. Poor Jake! It's 27 degrees in Montreal.

Carla said...

The "Newell-Speak" is funny - he really liked working with Jake is all I got....:-)

The question about not using "Persian" actors will be asked over and over again during the PR - they should prepare themselves a bit better, Jake will also get this question.

There are some actors added to the cast of Source Code - have to admit that I do not even know one of them. Duncan Jones twittered that filming will be starting on the 1st of March - I don´t think Jake will be able to attend the Oscars and support Maggie.

I have just read that Doug Liman will direct and produce "Attica" - obviously a very personal project for him. Not sure what that means for the "Moon Project" - the last time Doug mentioned it was at the beginning of last December.

Shondra said...

Mike Newell has just become my favorite Director, what a great interview! The babble was so Jake-like, imagine an interview with both of them together!

The non-Persian casting will come up as you said Carla, I just hope Jake and Mike will be able to handle them. Something like that can get a bit testy if not handled right.

Not too keen on the action figures, mostly because they don't resemble Jake at all. Still it must be really cool for Jake to have an action figure!

Wow! I really love the look of Jake as Avatar Monica!

Thanks for the info on the documentary Bobbyanna, that sounds like it's going to be fun!

2 comedians cast for SC, interesting. I never heard of either one and if filming starts on 3/1, he will miss the Oscars unless he gets a break although that would be a bit early for a break.

Attica? I assume that is about the prison riot in NY in the 70's. If he is directing this before the Moon project then that means that it will be awhile before we se that on screen.

Tweety said...

We already know this, just a confirmation!:

jrkm_pop: Jake Gyllenhaal arrives in Montreal for pre-production of Source Code.
about 1 hour ago from web

What a fun and delightful interview wit M. Newell! He sounds really excited about the movie and obviously loved working with Jake, thanks for the article UV and the concert tidbits!

Thanks for all the updates and info Bobbyanna and Monica, looking forward to checking out the Foxx documentary with Jake . Jake would have been great in Avatar, he looks good in blue!

Doesn't look like we will e seing the UMP anytime soon, thanks Carla.

Anonymous said...

So Life and Style has a story about Reese and that agent getting serious. Apparently they've been on ten dates, according to L&S, and have spent nights at each others houses. They've even double dated apparently.

I'm calling this one BS, but you be the judge.

Anonymous said...


get real said...

It would be really good if Jake can get the time off to go to the Oscars. I am not getting my hopes up though because of the SC filming schedule....sigh. :/

The only other thought that he may be able to go is that Vera Farmiga is nominated and she is in SC so maybe they will let Jake off too. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Thanks for the JF doc info, Bobbyanna. Sounds good.

IHJ said...

Jake arriving in Montreal:


UltraViolet said...

Jake looks good :)

Doug Liman's father was one of the lawyers sent to investiage the Attica riots, so it's a personal story for him. He wrote about it on his blog last month.

I think Jake could still go to the Oscars, but we'll have to wait and see. I hope he can.

Anonymous said...

^^It sounds like a great story to tell. :(

Monica said...

A Decade of Favorites:

Another thing that most film buffs can agree on: The New York Times Magazine’s close-ups with leading actors are pretty cool. (Admittedly, we’re biased, and not just because those magazine assignments are pretty plumb gigs.) This year, Jake Gyllenhaal, Julianne Moore, George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Zoe Saldana reveal their favorite performances of the last decade. Our vote would have to include Sandra Bullock’s wig.


UltraViolet said...

Was just doing a new post with some screen shots, Monica :)