Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The things you have to do to get back home

Jake Gyllenhaal covers VMan magazine's 10th anniversary issue and talks about changes in his life and his work:

It’s been raining, and the truck is trying to hit full speed from a dead stop, spitting earth and gravel at the limitations of torque and physics. The words “I’m not gonna let this motherfucker get away” are running through Jake Gyllenhaal’s mind as he gets dragged, one hand on the tailgate, about the length of a first down. Thing is, nobody on the set of his next film, Prisoners, told him to do this: not director Denis Villeneuve, not the guy behind the wheel (Hugh Jackman), not even himself. But it’s what would have been true.

In the film, the driver of the truck is a father pursuing his child’s abductor and Jake plays a detective set on—in this moment—preventing homicidal vigilantism. If this wasn’t fiction—if the father was real, if the cop was real, if the kidnapped children were real—the truck is there, so he’d grab the truck. “So I grabbed the truck, he drove off, and I just held on. Everyone was like, ‘Oh my god!’ And I said, ‘Did you get that? That was crazy.’ And it wasn’t even in the frame.”

It’s not the decisions you make but the decisions you witness yourself act upon that reveal your real nature. A glimpse of the subconscious can articulate identity at its core. So the question is: how do you manifest that? Jake Gyllenhaal loves this question. And so he ends up getting dragged by a truck, out of frame, without even realizing what he’s doing.

“I was searching for an experience. I was looking for an experiment,” he tells me over beers at Spain bar in the West Village, legendary authentic shithole for the New School writer and philosopher set. He’s referring to his motivation to sign on to Enemy, directed by Denis Villeneuve, with whom Jake would immediately work again on Prisoners. “I needed something way out of the box and I didn’t know what that was necessarily, and I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for. I feel like that’s always a good place for me. Whenever I’m not sure what I’m looking for, I always find something interesting.” ...

“My experience on End of Watch…” he says, pausing, an expression of cherished pain washing across his face. “It redefined for me how I wanted to make movies. It was an experience I had no idea was going to be as influential on me as it was.”

“I made a number of changes in my life,” he says when I ask how he filled the year that followed Watch. “I moved from Los Angeles to New York City, really to be closer to my family, and also—I had made a lot of promises to myself about getting back to theater, which is what I love, and I really wanted to follow that. I wanted to be around that community. So I just made this sort of big move out East, which is the opposite move people usually make, and I basically took some time.”

A couple days later, Jake sends me an e-mail that says “I had reached a point in my life and career where I had to ask myself what I really believed in, what I wanted to leave behind. I felt like those questions warranted exploration. I believe deeply in the reality of both the light and dark side of things and everything in between. I am interested in exploring people and situations without a filter.” And when a director’s mission statement about an upcoming project made its way to Jake, asking, “How unbearable is it to be in front of yourself, to totally recognize yourself in another being?” he knew he’d found his experience, his experiment.

“It’s about somebody searching for themselves,” Jake says. “It’s about dual identities and the search for identity in all of us. I’m not even sure I would call it a movie. It’s one of those films that’s about a question, and I wonder if it’s ultimately anything more than a question.”

When I ask Jake if he can pinpoint any big epiphanic moments in his life, he points to the year-plus after filming Source Code and before his balls-deep approach to End Of Watch. His publicist, Mara Buxbaum, told him to watch the documentary The Promise, about the making of Bruce Springsteen’s seminal record Darkness On The Edge Of Town. “Which may seem like a strange irony,” Jake says, “one’s publicist instigating a search of one’s soul, [but] she has a way of recommending things at the right time. She could see that I was searching and offered [the film, which premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival] as a bit of a guide.” He continues: “I have listened to Springsteen since I was a boy. My father was always a big Springsteen fan. The “Born in the USA” tour was the first concert I went to.” ...

Jake says: “You constantly have to stay alive, stay awake, listen to yourself. I want to try and make choices that, no matter how they turn out, I can always say I know where this started in me.”

Denis says: “Truth in a performance comes from the actor’s instinct, his subconscious. But to let that happen, he needs to lose control.”

Bruce says: “What’s the part of yourself that you can’t compromise or you’ll lose yourself?”

Jake says: “I was looking for an experience. I was looking for an experiment."

“Jake loves the sensation of having given everything in a shot,” says Villeneuve. “Like, he would die at the end of each take, [and] doing sometimes 35 or 40 takes. Again. Again. Again. Searching. His generosity was very moving. I think actors are better when they are free, [and] in danger.”

“I’ve been waiting for that for years,” Jake says. “I’ve been waiting for a director to be like, ‘Oh yeah, get hurt.’”

“He can go really deep into a performance and totally lose control,” Villeneuve continues. “Too many actors are not able to deal with this. When you lose control, you also deal with your own ugliness.”

I get up, look at my books, and suddenly remember something: When Jake first started to personalize how storytelling informs self-awareness, he footnoted that this has always been its purpose in culture, and then cited Homer’s Odyssey, “which so many stories are still similar to. It’s about the things that have to be done to get back home—they change you for the rest of your life. You don’t get back home unscarred. And whatever those things are that scar you, whatever mistakes you’ve made, they’re lessons. The movies I’ve tried to make are like that, they say it’s an imperfect journey. No one will get back to where they need to be without scars. No one will get back without having to sacrifice something.”


bobbyanna said...

Whoa, UV! The photos in the Elle's Men shoot and now these from VMan are just incredible! I must be getting used to this "looks" LOL!

The article is fascinating. Really interesting glimpse into Jake's mind during that period when he seemed to be 'quiet.'

But I have to be honest. Jake's willingness to "lose control" to grab onto the bumper of a speeding car for his art, doesn't make me feel any more confident about Everest than I did when I read that the director hates CGI...; )
I'm really, really glad Everest is getting more money. A lot of money. : ) They need to do everything right and use those green screens!

Mary said...

Thanks UV also like old times with daily posts:) Love the pics he looks gorgeous any idea when that photo shoot was done? Never heard of the magazine before.

Chica said...

This is such a great time to be a Jake fan! The cover is gorgeous (I have never heard if this magazine either). The interview is fascinating.

UltraViolet said...

It is like old times. Old, hectic times!

Not sure if this link will work. About 50 seconds in, there's a little bit of Hugh and Jake talking trailers.

Bobbyanna, I knew you wouldn't like that bumper story!

And chica and Mary, how funny that this magazine is apparently 10 years old.

FP said...

Matt Dinsdale
Matt Dinsdale

Film Publicist at leading independent UK film distributor, Entertainment One.

Saw Denis Villeneuve's PRISONERS tonight. Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo all superb. Real edge-of-the-seat stuff.

FP said...

Toronto: Jake Gyllenhaal’s ‘Enemy’ in 4-Way Bidding Tug-of-War (Exclusive)

Positive buzz and good reviews for Gyllenhaal’s other collaboration with Denis Villeneuve sparked multi-day scrum

A four-way scrum for Jake Gyllenhaal’s buzzy Toronto title “The Enemy” is under way, TheWrap has learned — with a deal expected to close by Wednesday night.

Lionsgate, A24, The Weinstein Co. and Focus were nearing the finish line on a deal in the low seven-figure range. Positive reaction and reviews touched off the multi-day auction that began after its weekend premiere

Monica said...

Jake's willingness to "lose control" to grab onto the bumper of a speeding car for his art,

I loved it. Put a smile on my face. I want more Jake!

This is great news, FP. I hope it will for Focus!

Translator said...

Call me sentimental or a fool, I'm so happy I feel like cryin': Jake Gyllenhaal’s ‘Enemy’ in 4-Way Bidding Tug-of-War: Lionsgate, A24, The Weinstein Co. and Focus
And we thought most of us would never see it!

My absence of late is due to the huge amount of information we got these days. I'm still processing. It's too much, too fast but it's soooo good. The VMan Magazine's photos and interview - I'm at a loss of words!

UltraViolet - I'm happy you had the chance to see "Enemy" and witness the Q&A with "Gylleneuve".
When things slow down (in a month or so :-) maybe you can tell us more. I'm curious and a bit scared about the last scene. And dying to know more about Jake's performance/s.

Mary said...

Good news for sure maybe we will get to see Enemy after all.

Translator said...

Oh shoot! Sorry FP - didn't see your post, I was too eager to share the news.

FP said...

Tanslator my friend, when news is so good it is soooo pleasant to repeat! :))


Translator said...

Indeed FP - all news involving Jake are fantastic. Things are going so well for him on many levels. On his terms - the parts he wants to play, things he needs to experience, people he wants to work with. And the long overdue recognition of his talent. It's about time!

One question - Saw the clip UltraViolet posted, trailer humor made me chuckle, then it hit me: Ben Lyons did the red carpet for "Gravity". Did I miss something? Did he also interview his ol' buddy Jake for "Prisoners"?

FP said...

"And the long overdue recognition of his talent. It's about time"

OMG Translator SO TRUE!

Amen mate!

UltraViolet said...

What wonderful news to come home to! I was getting annoyed by the lack of news about Enemy. It seemed like there was a lot of buzz, so it didn't make sense that no one wanted it.

We're all sentimental old fools here, Translator!

Monica said...


Lionsgate is not in the running at this time, as this post had previously indicated. The story and headline have been written through to reflect that.

I hope it goes to Focus. I don't want to Harvey, he almost never knows what to do with artsy films

Hagen said...

I hope it goes to Focus.

"Brokeback Mountain" is Focus' highest grossing movie of all time. So that would be a fit (even if "Enemy" doesn't have significant potential at the box office.)

A24's first movie has been released this year. Among their feature films are "Spring Breakers" and "The Bling Ring". A young distributor with few releases wouldn't be bad either.

I don't want to Harvey, he almost never knows what to do with artsy films.

I've got mixed feelings about Weinstein. Of course, he's a respected distributor (Weinstein Company, Radius-TWC), but he's already acquired quite a few films at TIFF. So I don't know, if he would really care about "Enemy".

Hagen said...

Modest Movie: TIFF 2013: Enemy Review (Grade: A)
Denis Villeneuve’s second movie at TIFF, Enemy, is a love-it-or-hate-it film. It’s weird, ambiguous, hypnotic, haunting, and has a final scene that doesn’t make much sense (although IMDb users will certainly have a field day deciphering its symbolism). It’s also a movie that you can’t ignore. I’m firmly in the “love-it” camp.

Office of Nancy Pelosi said...

Wow! So much to catch up on. The photos are moody and intense. I can't wait to read the article UV. Thanks so much for posting it since I doubt I would be able to find this magazine on the newstand.

I'm thrilled to hear that Enemy will finally get a US distributor!

bobbyanna said...

Really happy to read this on FB:

"Last night my good friend Stephen Katz and I attended the SAG Awards Committee screening of "Prisoners." It was so inspiring to hear Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Marrisa Leo, and Paul Dano address the crowd & speak about their craft and tackling such heavy subject material! "

And here's another from a different person @ the same event:

"Last night I had the chance to see a director's screening of the new thriller "Prisoners", starring Hugh Jackson and Jake Gyllenhaal and directed by QuΓ©bΓ©cois director Denis Villeneuve.

"General release is set for later this month – and all I have to say is get ready for the one of the smartest, most gut-twisting thrillers since "Silence of the Lambs"."

Apparently this screening was for the SAG Awards nominating committee screening.

I've checked out VMan, and it's a very artsy, high end magazine, that only comes out twice a year, so snagging the cover is prestigious.

V Magazine is an off-shoot from Visionaire. V is about fashion and the arts, with the men's issue coming out bi-annually.

UltraViolet said...

There was apparently a SAG screening of Prisoners last night. Haven't heard much reaction yet but I haven't been on twitter.

Not sure which studio I want to win the battle, but I am thrilled Enemy is being fought over!

Translator, I didn't see the Prisoners red carpet, so I don't know who the interviewer was or if there was an interviewer. I'm not sure where Ben Lyons works these days, either.

I think we've seen this Prisoners red carpet video but just in case.

And LOL:

Denis Villeneuve cast Jake Gyllenhaal in his first two English-language films. Denis says “I think now we need a bit of couples therapy.”

Anonymous said...

Homer Hickam ‏@HomerHickam 1m
What's Jake #Gyllenhaal like? What's it like to have a movie made about your life?These questions ansrd & more.

UltraViolet said...


Next week on #DailyShow: 9/16 @RBReich #InequalityForAll 9/17 Jake Gyllenhaal 9/18 @RealHughJackman 9/19 @ChelseaClinton

This makes up a little bit for Hugh and not Jake being on Jimmy Fallon.

Jake can do Fallon for Enemy :)

Enemy Q&A said...

Twitter said...

Just saw jake gyllenhaal in the flesh! Holy man! #qlshow

Mary said...

Jake's appearance on The Queen Latifah show is Sept 20

Translator said...

Another talkshow for Jake: Good Morning America, Wednesday, Sept. 18
Jake will have a chance to hang out backstage with an old friend, Gwyneth Paltrow, another guest that day.
Also Melissa Leo on GMA Sept. 20.

Speaking of friends, I'm dissapointed about Jimmy Fallon. I know these things are scheduled by PR teams, and there are many good news surrounding Jake lately, but still - I thought Fallon was a friend to Jake.

Excited about Jon Stewart though. It's been 2 years, lots of witty catching up to do.

WB promotes both Jake's and Hugh's talkshow appearances:

Warner Bros Pictures ‏@wbpictures
The stars of #Prisoners hit late night - catch #JakeGyllenhaal on @JimmyKimmelLive and @RealHughJackman on @JayLeno!

Mary said...

I wondered if he would do GMA as he is doing the Kelly and Michael on the 18th as they tend to schedule them like that.

suvee said...

My apologies if this has already been posted in any of your previous posts re Prisoners or Enemy. But I just caught part of an interview with Denis Villeneuve on my local NPR station tonight. It's a show called "Q", produced by the CBC I think.

He was asked about his "love/hate" quote about his relationship with Jake. He laughed, and clarified that it really wasn't hate. But to explain what he meant, he said, "We both are big egos, we both are a bit narcissistic and we are very competitive,".

It was clear he likes that dynamic with Jake. :)

FP said...

Paloma Moreno ‏@_xopaylo 13m

YES I JUST SAW JAKE GYLLENHAAL and YES I'm about to watch The Weeknd live
“@notChristinee: @_xopaylo FUCK YOU.” Jake is so fucking hot OMG

Luisa Bravo ‏@luiibravo 11m

the awesome moment when you're in line for the restroom and Jake Gyllenhaal passes by ;D <3 almost pee'd then and there!

Tammy ‏@thetam67 10m

Thank you @1iota for the @IAMQUEENLATIFAH tickets! Had a blast and Jake Gyllenhaal was HOT!

Samantha Amy ‏@LOVE_sammamy 4h

SOOO excited to see @theweeknd on jimmy kimmel with my boyfriend Jake gyllenhaal #sexualseduction #bonerjams
amantha Amy ‏@LOVE_sammamy 10m

Jake gyllenhaal is soooo much sexier in person! πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜˜πŸ˜‹πŸ˜˜πŸ˜‹πŸ˜˜πŸ˜‹

Iris V. Ayala ‏@irisdeadlyvirus 9m

Just saw jake gyllenhaal n hes cuter in person but hes short like every celebrity

FP said...

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
With Jake Gyllenhaal

21m ago

Daniel Engle ‏@DengleTweets 14m

The moment I arrive Jake Gyllenhaal walks over and takes a photo with me. And other bitches be waiting hours @Mr_EduardoPena @Jacky_y

Anonymous said...

KJ Matthews ‏@RedCarpetKJ 36s
@CNN @RedCarpetKJ and #JakeGyllenhaal #Prisoners #RedCarpet #premiere

Anonymous said...

Stephen Stone-Marez ‏@1StephenStone 10m
Happening RIGHT NOW!!!! #JakeGyllenhaal #HughJackman at the #RedCarpet #WorldPremiere of #PRISONERS @…

Monica said...

I thought Fallon was a friend to Jake.

what he did?

FP said...

Marcela Isaza ‏@misaza

Very sweet. Jake Gyllenhaal saved my head from getting slammed by another video camera, right in the middle of our interview tonight. Red carpet reporters get bonked on the head ALL THE TIME by cameras. In all the years I've been doing this he's the first to jump in and say something! All the other actors just giggle or pretend in never happened. What a gentleman
: ) : ) : )

UltraViolet said...

We Boston and perhaps New York folks won't get to see Kimmel on time, as the football game has delayed the news and then Kimmel.

Let us know how it goes!

Suvee, I listened to that interview. DEnis is a fun, interesting, complex guy, it seems.

Thanks for posting the Enemy Q&A, anon. Definitely worth watching.

And thanks to FP for all the premiere tweets. It's hard to keep up!

Translator, I think these things are left mostly to publicists and show bookers/producers. Hope Jake will be on Fallon for Enemy.

FP said...

Warner Bros Pictures ‏@wbpictures 42s

The always dapper #JakeGyllenhaal. #Prisoners #Premiere

FP said...

Larry Richman ‏@larry411
Writer and photographer covering film festivals and independent films

#Prisoners is 2 1/2 hrs long but doesn't feel it. Tension-filled at just the right pacing to keep viewers engaged. Never looked at my watch

Was wary about massive hype post-Telluride but #Prisoners lived up to expectations. No, it's not Citizen Kane but a triumph nonetheless.

Sure performances from Hugh Jackman, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, & the go-to indie actress - Melissa Leo in #Prisoners

Most impressive lead in #Prisoners is Jake Gyllenhaal. Rock steady vs the maniacal & tortured Jackman & Dano.

FP said...

Gyllenhaal, here delivering both of his best performances (okay, perhaps save for “Zodiac”. And “Brokeback Mountain”. And “Prisoners”… okay, it turns out that he’s a pretty good actor), does a magnificent job of bridging the gap between the two Jakes, carving out two distinct characters without submitting either of them to caricature. And while Gyllenhaal carries the film
on his shoulders, he’s provided a considerable assist by a strong supportive cast, all of whom are clearly on board with Villeneuve’s vision. The filmmaker, whatever his faults, has always displayed a strong instinct for casting – Laurent and Gadon (Cronenberg’s new muse) perfectly compliment one another, the latter adding crucial dimension to a pivotal character whose undercurrents unexpectedly prove to be the film’s most resonant.

Brimming with borderline ridiculous portent from the very beginning, “Enemy”’s wry hold is a thoroughly unexpected one, as though the film’s self-seriousness is deliberately intended to disarm the viewer into taking it less seriously. Villeneuve wants you to laugh, he wants you to drop your guard, he wants to earn your vulnerability and then prey on it, a spider building an intricate nest in some dark corner of the room you’d never think to check. To that end, “Enemy” is a deviously sneaky success – a blundering B-movie with a wicked bite, Villeneuve’s seedy wank resolves itself as a venomous and universally relatable portrait of how self-analysis can be the quickest road to self-harm. The unexamined life may not be worth living, but it sure is easier to live.

Oh, and did I mention that ending?

SCORE: 8.2 / 10

S. Peace Nistades

Film composer and inventor of sounds, but at the core, I'm a storyteller.

#DenisVilleneuve crafts a stunning and riveting thriller with #Prisoners. Possibly one of my fav crime thrillers since #SilenceOfTheLambs.

UltraViolet said...

Yet another glowing Enemy review. I love it!

Will repost in the new post.