Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Variety has a new interview with Jake Gyllenhaal, who talks about getting into character for Nightcrawler.
Gyllenhaal has returned to his roots with his latest roles, even if it means taking smaller paychecks. “I don’t have my own family right now,” he says. "I have an opportunity to make those choices." Nick Meyer, CEO of Sierra/Affinity, which sold “Nightcrawler” to international distributors, says Gyllenhaal’s star status is the reason the project got made. "He’s a significant artist with weight, and he took his role on this movie seriously," Meyer says.
The story touches on the idea of privacy in an Internet age — and the proliferation of tabloid journalism in even serious news organizations. But Gyllenhaal was most taken by the poetic soliloquies in the script (by Gilroy). He memorized every sentence of dialogue before the 28-day nocturnal shoot through the streets of Los Angeles. "I would always be sad when we wrapped a scene,” he says, “because I’d think, ‘That’s the last time I’m ever going to say the line, and it’s so good. It deserves to be said again.'"
"When you watch the film and see the angularity of his face, the hollow cheeks, the way that his eyes become prominent," Gilroy says, "it’s such a haunting look for a night shoot." Gyllenhaal would run 15 miles from his house to the set in the evenings to stay lanky. The inspiration for the fast-talking character came from the animal world. "There was a general sense that he was a coyote,” Gyllenhaal says. “I just wanted to live that way."
It’s somewhat ironic that the one scene in “Nightcrawler” that’s true to life features Gyllenhaal shattering his own image. Gilroy says he was taken by surprise that the star did that on set, but it’s become a crucial part of the story. “We didn’t plan on the mirror breaking,” he says. “It was honest. It was dramatic. It becomes a pivot point in the character.” Now Gilroy can’t imagine “Nightcrawler” without the scene. “It was an accident we put in the film because it worked so well,” he says. But he’s recently thought about how Gyllenhaal will always carry the character of Lou with him. “The movie has become a permanent part of his physical being,” Gilroy says.
Gyllenhaal admits that playing a dark character like Lou will sometimes sneak into his dreams. “I always have nightmares,” he says, before catching himself. “I don’t really believe in nightmares. I don’t believe the things that scare us are in our dreams. I think they are us communicating with ourselves. Even if I’m scared, I think they are helpful sometimes.” Gyllenhaal speaks abstractly at first when asked what drove him to more vulnerable roles. He says he had an epiphany when he turned 30. “You wake up and you say, ‘I know who I am. Why am I not able to communicate through my art?’ ” he says. “I just realized I was sitting in the wrong place.”
But he soon opens up about how his parents’ divorce in 2009 affected him. “My father got remarried, and my mother moved to New York,” says Gyllenhaal, who relocated to New York to be close to her. “My family became a different entity, and I think a more honest one.” He wanted to find the same honesty in the characters he played. “My family is so strong right now,” Gyllenhaal says. “In a way, that’s given me the strength to say trust yourself.”
Metro ad for Enemy in France, where it's now playing and doing quite well.
Jake interviewed by the folks at BAFTA, around End of Watch time.