Britain has its own royalty, I know, but still - this is rather a common welcome for the Prince of Persia! Jake Gyllenhaal arriving at Heathrow on May 1. At leat he has his trusty manservant, Mr. B!
Before he left for London, Jake did a phone interview: The Ass-Kicking Artist Currently Known as Prince of Persia. He certainly made a good impression on the interviewer:
The other night, as I was sitting in my darkening office, Jake Gyllenhaal called. Even though the call was “scheduled,” I didn’t really expect this artist-turning-action-hero to have the time to talk to me since he was about to leave for a global press tour. I was convinced I was going to be rescheduled. I have never been so glad to be wrong because he was everything I expected: smart, articulate, and charming. Nonetheless, there was something that took me by surprise: how much he laughed at himself. For all his accomplishments and over-the-top talent, this is not a guy who takes himself too seriously.
Among other things, Jake discusses the differences between Mike Newell and Duncan Jones:
Oh my gosh, every director than I have had the pleasure to work with has been so different in their style. So Mike Newell, just physically … they both happen to be British, but Duncan spent a lot of time growing up in the States and all over the world so he has a different sort of sensibility than Mike. Well, Mike is like six foot five, and Duncan is like five ten or something, so [laughs] that is one major difference. And in a way, their sizes mimic their styles, because Mike is very robust and dramatic in his approach and he’s like (in a gruff British voice), “Oh yes, my dear boy, it’s fantastic,” and there’s always this sort of energy to it. Duncan really creates this space that is much more quiet, and I would say that there is a serenity to the way he directs, and to me it’s fascinating that the two of them could not be more different.
That’s actually a really good question. They had two different beasts [to direct], you know? Mike had a movie where there are just so many elements that he had to balance, and I learned from him a really important lesson that every actor should know; he said, “You know what I look at more than the monitor?,” and I said “No, what Mike?” And he pointed to his watch. When I asked ”Really?,” he said, “You never get all the things you want as a director, and you’re always chasing time.” Any actor who is in sync with their director knows you want to try to give your director everything that they want within the day. And that’s something that I really learned with Mike. It is something that I don’t think that actors really know: how much a director is dealing with. So when I went to work with Duncan I brought that mentality with me, and it was like, “What do we need? Did we get that? OK, what do you need from me? Let’s go.”
JULINA: Are there references to the game, or any inside jokes, within the movie?
JAKE: Huh. Well you know the character himself, I don’t know how much I can really say about it, but I can say that in the game and the movie, he is wry. Also, there’s a thing in the game that he’s always brushing everything off his shoulders, even if he’s totally messed up. I really tried to incorporate this particular thing that happens in the game, actually. Like, when the prince in the game falls to the ground, he goes like, “Uh!” So I tried to do that.
JAKE: [Laughing] People start — they kinda got annoyed with me doing that. They’re like, “It’s sort of just in the game, you should stop grunting when you hit the ground.” But I incorporated that idea because I thought he was kind of going, like, “Uch …” in the game too, which is his personality — like, “Oh god!” You know? There are little bits of the game all over it, but [the movie] is its own beast. That’s for sure. And it is it is quite a massive, epic beast. [Laughing] It is filled, filled to the brim with action and crazy fun stunts — much like the game.
(Photos courtesy of IHJ.)