Break a leg to everyone involved in If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet!
Al Hirschfeld is no longer here to draw his famous theater portraits, but the tradition continues:
Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal is hitting the U.S. stage for the very first time in Nick Payne’s dark family comedy, If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet. Set in rainy London, the new play tells the story of Anna (played by Annie Funke), an overweight 15-year-old who, after getting no support from her preoccupied parents (Brian F. O’Byrne and Michelle Gomez), develops an unlikely friendship with her wild Uncle Terry (Gyllenhaal). Broadway.com resident artist Justin “Squigs” Robinson took a seat at off-Broadway’s Laura Pels Theatre to watch the story unfold, then sketched a wistful family portrait of (from l.) O’Byrne, Funke, Gyllenhaal and Gomez. Check out Squigs’ latest masterpiece, then see the Roundabout Theatre Company production in a limited engagement through November 25!
The AP gives us a great look at the relationship between Jake and Brian:
Jake Gyllenhaal and Brian F. O'Byrne don't seem to have too much in common.
One is a 45-year-old Tony Award-winning Irish-born character actor and stage veteran. The other is a 31-year-old A-list movie star making his U.S. stage debut. But spend some time with them and you might swear they're related.
"He's like my older brother — that's how it feels," says Gyllenhaal, sitting beside O'Byrne in a comfy downtown cafe. "It feels like that in the scenes and it feels like that when we come offstage."
During the course of lunch, there is absolutely no ego on show. The actors goof on each other, share compliments and food. Gyllenhaal instantly worries about his co-star's comfort when the Irishman arrives at his outdoor table slightly sweaty.
"You guys want to go inside? There's a beautiful table over there. It would be cooler," Gyllenhaal asks. He then proceeds to expertly carry four filled water glasses to the new table and makes sure everyone is satisfied with the new area.
"He likes organizing things," O'Byrne teases.
"To have a first is a really wonderful thing. And to have a first with someone who is so wise and experienced is a blessing," says Gyllenhaal of O'Byrne. "It's an honor working on the stage with him."
O'Byrne responds with a mock insult — "He's a one-trick pony, beard or no beard" — and makes fun of Gyllenhaal's luscious head of hair. "Look at that hair! I mean, have you ever seen anything like it? I could eat it."
Eventually, the laugher dies down and O'Byrne grows earnest, asking Gyllenhaal to cover his ears while he says nice things. "To have somebody who's obviously at the top of his game, who comes to the stage with the freshness he does? You don't often get that," he says. "It's great fun."
"It's been a really wonderful thing to have Brian there to be able to guide us. Not only in scenes. Not only as a tremendous actor. But as somebody who I can turn to and say, 'Is this supposed to happen?' And he'll go, 'Yes, it's supposed to happen. And later it will be like this.'"
They've also since learned that the first show each saw on Broadway was the same — "Anything Goes" with Patti LuPone in the late 1980s. ("I, by the way, was 8; he was 40," Gyllenhaal jokes.) And they have learned that they are both actors who revel in the reality of scenes.
"He listens to my rants and he guides me and calms me down and also jacks me up," says Gyllenhaal. "It feels safe even within the danger of the moment."
Spoilerific video from the play: