Thursday, 31 May 2007

Jake Gyllenhaal - the reluctant and unusual sex symbol

Jake Gyllenhaal is in the Dutch papers again today. This time, Jake is featured in SP!TS and it draws on another interview Jake made while in Cannes. As we have grown accustomed, it includes little treats from Jake on his role choices as well as a portrait of Jake as an uncomfortable and unusual sex symbol, not quite sure on how to handle all this attention.

The feature makes the point that, when Jake stood on the red carpeted steps of the Palais du Festival in Cannes, it was a surprise to him that it was he who received most of the attention and not his famous co-stars Mark Ruffalo and Chloe Sevigny. 'Even at the fully crowded press conference of the festival premier of Zodiac, it's very noticeable that he is the star. Director Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club) gets some questions asked. But Ruffalo and Sevigny are mostly skipped; all the attention goes to Gyllenhaal who, sometimes almost literally, is being stripped with questions. This is because a lot of people from the glossy/womens magazines have noticed that the dorky teenager with the dreamy eyes, who had his breakthrough with the cult hit Donnie Darko, has changed into a grown man who has everything it takes to be a sex symbol. A very unusual one, that is.'

This sex symbol status is due, not a little bit, to Jake's celebrated and phenomenal performance as Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain. "I was told that it would be dangerous to play a gay cowboy but that movie has opened up a lot of doors to me and therefore will always be a very special part of my career. But now I have to move on, because you don't want to get stuck, even in that kind of success."

The role of Robert Graysmith in Zodiac may also seem an unusual and brave choice, not least because we see relatively little of Jake's character during the first half of the film. "My character is always present during the evolution of the story, but most of the time he hasn't a lot to do. David Fincher explained it to me like this when we were discussing the part: 'during the first part of the movie, you are nothing more than an extra, but when the movie reaches the climax, the main character in the movie will be you'. I found that quite an amusing observation. In reality, it was a bit of a disappointment. All day I walked around the set of the newspaper where I work in the movie, and all I could do was just to sit in the corner and wander around."

As for why Jake took on the role: "As an actor I'm always attracted to the more extreme characters. But in this case that was hardly a factor when I decided to take this role. When I read the script I was sold immediately. 'Wow, this has actually happened.' The murders, the paranoia that was spreading across society. Zodiac had a huge impact. The movie did not have the amount of success in America that other spectacular movies have, but it's these kind of deep extraordinary stories that I want to tell."

Thanks again to Jimmy from IHJ for finding and translating the article, as well as permitting me to use it. In places I have used my own very rudimentary Dutch so all mistakes are mine, and not Jimmy's! Pictures from IHJ.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon photographed separately again

On 30 May Jake Gyllenhaal visited a friend's house in LA, after which he and Reese Witherspoon left in separate cars, with Reese following Jake back to her house in Brentwood. That's what we're told and yet again the 'evidence' comprises photographs of Jake on his own, a shot of Reese through the window of a car, and a picture of two cars driving down the street - although handily these cars have been labelled 'Jake' and 'Reese', just so we can recognise 'proof' when we're given it.

Considering the number of paps who must be following Jake and Reese around LA and who, no doubt, had time to gather outside this friend's house yesterday, I've got to say 'Is this the best you can do?' When their sole mission is to supply the tabloids with that one picture, and with all that state-of-the-art equipment at their disposal - not to mention the humble phone camera - I'd expect more (as would the editors, I'd imagine). Of course, if there's nothing to photograph... The game continues.

Photographs from IHJ.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Zodiac holds its own in UK cinemas and you can be Jake Gyllenhaal

Not surprisingly, last holiday weekend people in their droves took refuge from the typical UK holiday weather in the theatres. A decision aided, no doubt, by the release of the much-anticipated Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. But Zodiac did itself proud: Pirates 3 was the favourite with families, followed by Spiderman 3, but Zodiac 1 held its own at number 3. This is despite the fact that WDW has been too ill and infectious to see the film that they've been waiting for all year. Obviously, if WDW had been well, Spidey would have been dust.

This month, Jake is a popular subject for magazines across the world. For instance, the new ASOS magazine shows us how we can get Jake's style, as if it were all just a matter of buying the right shorts and shirt:

Jake is also featured in the Russian edition of Elle. If anyone can translate any of this I'd be grateful - click on the images and they shall be enlarged.

Finally, Jake 'the nicest man in the world' Gyllenhaal is the subject of German Glamour magazine. I am less sure about the merits of this article because it declares Jake a vegetarian, despite his taste for blood sausage in the hills above Nice.

Images from IHJ.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Jake Gyllenhaal - I assume the audience to be very intelligent

It seems to be no wonder that Jake Gyllenhaal's visit to London was of the flying variety kind. Maggie and her family, the reason for Jake's London visit, were all back in New York for Memorial Day and were seen walking around the West Village.

I love Maggie's style in these photographs and she certainly knows how to get her point across.

Meanwhile, the Cannes press conference - or at least some of it - has at last come to light in a format that doesn't drive even the most dedicated of Gyllenhaalics insane with frustration. No more endlessly freezing frames and no having to sit with your ears pressed up to the monitor speakers, trying to get around the French voiceover - there is no French voiceover.

With his typical, self-depreciating and modest manner, Jake answers the question of why David Fincher selected him for the role of Robert Graysmith in Zodiac. "David championed me and my acting from way before I was even cast for Brokeback Mountain... He was insisting on all of us, the whole cast." This is after Jake joked that "it was Brokeback" that did it for Fincher.

When asked about the audience who will go and see Zodiac in theatres across the world, Jake says earnestly, "I assume the audience to be very intelligent - maybe that's not the smartest thing on my part - but I really think they are."

More Maggie, Peter and Ramona pictures here.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Jake Gyllenhaal back home in West Hollywood

Cannes suddenly seems a long time ago and a long way away - Jake Gyllenhaal is now safely back at home in Los Angeles. He was spotted walking around West Hollywood on Sunday morning 27 May with father Stephen. No doubt they had a lot to catch up on. Jake, can I just say, I love your shoes (and that hoodie's not bad either) ....

Pictures from JustJared.

The Play Pen - the Jake Gyllenhaal sand box

I think we're all agreed that you can never have enough Jake Gyllenhaal - it's therefore with pleasure that I announce the launch today of a new forum dedicated to Jake - The Play Pen.

In the words of the Playmaker: "Primarily dedicated to Jake Gyllenhaal, The Play Pen welcomes discussions about other inhabitants of Hollywood, male and female. Whilst the site is intended to focus less on the 'gossip' surrounding celebrities and more on news, events, appearances and celebrating our favourite stars; there is also an area where we can all be a little bit silly as and when the feeling takes us. As a new site we intend to evolve to meet the needs of the community that we serve, contributions from members are vital to this aim and members input and feedback is welcomed."

Thanks, Playmaker, for involving Wet Dark and Wild in your new adventure!

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Jake Gyllenhaal - Don't call me good looking - appreciate me for what I do in my movies

'Even among all the beautiful people who walk around at the International Cannes Film Festival, the American actor Jake Gyllenhaal stands out from the crowd. He is undeniably sexy... Everyone: friend, enemy, man, woman and everything in between - they cannot deny his attractiveness.'

So begins an article on Jake in the Netherlands' AD newspaper, which features an entirely new interview with Jake, conducted as he sat by his beach house at the Hotel du Cap, Antibes. This interview, and another remarkable interview in the Dutch Cinema publication, are full of gems and I am grateful to Jimmy from iheartjake, who has kindly allowed me to quote from his English translations.

Appreciate me for what I do in my movies

Despite his attractiveness, which makes Jake stand out in even the most glamorous and beautiful gathering, Jake's modesty is touching and very healthy and possibly reveals a touch of insecurity common to so many actors, even those as highly regarded as Jake. "Like any other sane person, I do not want to be judged by my looks. If somebody compliments me on my looks - which I did nothing to get - it has no value for me whatsoever. I would rather deal with people who appreciate me for what I do in my movies. All those lists about Most Sexy Males on earth, that appear in magazines quite often, all disappear when a new sexy actor appears on the horizon. A good acting performance will withstand the test of time. At least, I hope."

As for the infamous trouble between Jake and his director: "As with many other rumours, in the media everything is blown out of proportion. It's true that filming the movie was killing... it has a lot of scenes wth very long dialogues, where every detail needed to be right." I can't help wondering what other rumours Jake might be referring to here.

I am someone who lives for passion

Fincher's obsession is not something Jake shares, as he has said before. "I am someone who lives for passion. It's constructive and it can create beautiful things. Obsessions usually lead to sacrifces and they usually end negatively, unless you are very talented like Fincher."

It's interesting to hear that, despite Jake's overwhelming success in Brokeback Mountain, he is not being faced with easy choices. "I wasn't offered the roles that really suit me. I've been in this business since I was 10 years old, but it didn't give me any satisfaction."

I'm very proud of Zodiac

Jake's deep concern about selecting roles that actually contribute something to our understanding of human nature - sometimes in contrast to the type of roles he is offered - is a theme of the second interview. Jake has said that David Fincher sees the 'big picture', but so does Jake. In this feature, the interviewer describes a young man, both good-natured and a good talker - who takes his choices very seriously. It also comes as a surprise to hear just how vulnerable Jake has been made to feel because of the success of Brokeback Mountain.

For this interview, Jake makes it very clear that he knows why he is in Cannes. "If I go to Cannes, I sure know what to do, don't I? Today, I'm here for interviews and I'm happy to do it. And I'm not just saying that to be polite. I'm very proud of Zodiac. I'm willing to do everything I can to make sure the movie will stay in theaters for a long time."

Brokeback Mountain - 'Joy' is the word to describe it

Jake speaks of his determined effort to avoid the young cliche highschool roles, which he was undoubtedly offered by the caseload. Instead, the young Jake was "looking for parts that go in a different direction."

Then came the Brokeback Mountain phenomenon. "Now that time has passed, I try to look back on that period. 'Joy' is the word to describe it. But after a while you have to let go of the past and focus on something new. However, a big success like Brokeback Mountain can also be very 'chaining'. It's like it has become a part of you and you can't let it go. And there's another side-effect: if someone now gives criticism, it hurts twice as bad - after hearing so much praise."

When asked about growing up in Hollywood, Jake expands on his normal pat answer - as he normally does when faced with an intelligent interviewer. "For me and Maggie, Hollywood has never been something magical. The advantage is that now, I do not tend to rush anything. I want to play in movies that add to our images, judgements and preconceptions. Movies can do that. But most of the movies are created to make people weak."

There's always fear

Quoting Saving Private Ryan as an example of how movies can change perspectives, Jake focuses on a different element of Zodiac: fear and the role of fear in the media and in life. "There's always fear. Fear to say something wrong. Fear to have an accident. Or, on a larger scale, fear of terrorism. It is possible to see Zodiac as a way that shows people how spreading fear can reduce humans to paranoid creatures. There's certainly a parallel between this and America nowadays. The chance of being killed by the Zodiac was far smaller than the chance of being hit by a tram. Still, everyone in the San Francisco area in the 60s and 70s was captured by this killer. Today, the same is happening to Muslim Fundamentalism. A fear that is being encouraged by politics."

"See what I mean with 'the power of a movie'?... An interesting movie forces you to make connections. That's what I try to find in acting. To work with people who make these kind of movies and think and work with them."

What an extraordinary young actor Jake Gyllenhaal is - one can only speculate with joy at the films that will be forthcoming for him and for us.

Pictures from IHJ. Thanks Jimmy!

Saturday, 26 May 2007

A look back at Cannes - Jake Gyllenhaal and the Zodiac crew

After ten days of more glamour than most towns could handle, the curtain comes down at Cannes tomorrow. At last we will know which of the 22 films has won the prestigious Palme d'Or. Will it be, as predicted, a foreign language film or one of the high profile contributions from the US. At this point, I want to pay tribute to the research skills of BBC Newsnight - its Cannes special last night paid much attention to each of the competing American movies in turn but, for some reason, failed to realise that Zodiac or David Fincher even exist. Let's hope the jury knows differently - Good luck David and Zodiac!

Several French TV interviews with Jake Gyllenhaal and the rest of the Zodiac crew were recorded during the early part of the Cannes Film Festival but a couple of these have been available only on sites that require the patience of a saint and broadband beyond my capabilities. These are now feeding down to more user-friendly sites, accessible to all. So now everyone can enjoy the spectacle of Jake re-enacting his Night Fever moment after watching his SNL moment of glory, looking not a little embarrassed. Thanks very much to a DC friend for providing this link.

There is also a video, in which Jake, Chloe Sevigny and Mark Ruffalo pay tribute to the vision of David Fincher in brief interviews.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Imagine you're Jake Gyllenhaal

So what do you do if you're an actor who can't act and you need inspiration every time you tread on the boards? One thing's for certain, such an actor is not Jake Gyllenhaal, but Jake can be that inspiration. I was amused to read of a new satirical play - This is a Play - which looks like a bad play but is instead all about a bad, method actor who can only get by by pretending he is Jake Gyllenhaal. The picture below, however, is not from this, instead it's from the party that accompanied Jake's own celebrated debut on the West End stage in This is our Youth in March 2002.

But back to This is a Play... Written by Canadian playwright, Daniel McIvor, the satirical This Is a Play 'follows the backstage antics of three nameless actors: a young starlet (played by Lotte St Clair); an older actress (played by Janine Penfold); and a young male actor, Phipps, who psyches himself up by thinking of Jake Gyllenhaal. Together, they star in a play reminiscent of a Tennessee Williams melodrama.' "He doesn't have a name, he's just called male actor," say Phipps of his character. "I'd say unbelievably stupid is the best way to describe him. He's just so immersed in theatre that even he can't see it's a really terrible play [he's starring in]. But this is his life and he's a method actor and he'll think about Jake Gyllenhaal every time he walks on stage to really pump himself up. And he'll get so carried away, thinking about his own performance, and every five minutes he's just congratulating himself on his good acting and that's the way he gets through the scene. Maybe stupid isn't the word ... just blinded by his own talent, which there really isn't very much of to begin with."

So you can think of Jake Gyllenhaal all the time and that makes you a method actor. Phipps is on the right below.

The play is being presented by The Darlinghurst Theatre Company, Sydney.

Picture from IHJ.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Jake Gyllenhaal running errands, playing games - 17 April and 12 May updates

New photos have emerged of Jake running around Beverly Hills on 17 April, literally running around. Far be it from me to pass by any opportunity to post pictures of Action Jake. New old pictures have also come to light of Jake playing with Atticus in LA on 12 May, shortly before his departure for the Riviera.

Talking of Action Jake (with Action Lance), this photo from last summer has also just emerged, thanks to the DC Forum.

Photos from IHJ.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Jake Gyllenhaal walks the carpet to Santana - video

So Jake is in London visiting his sister Maggie, who was seen (probably on Monday) with fiance Peter and daughter Ramona buying gourmet goodies from Clarke's Shop in Kensington. Perhaps the mature cheddar and the cherry tomatoes were in preparation for the imminent arrival of her foodie little brother.

Nevertheless, despite the excitement of knowing Jake is in the same timezone (not to mention the relief that our weather is on its best behaviour), not a little of my heart and mind still dithers over Cannes. For that reason, I want to share here a video that captures much of the excitement of Jake's red carpet experience, for him and also for all of the media and the fans. If you listen carefully, you may be able to make out WDW's cries for attention, which did indeed work in the end. It also reminds me that, when Jake emerged from behind the bank of press into our full view, it was to the glorious Soul Sacrifice by Santana, a particularly memorable piece of the Zodiac soundtrack. Now, even more memorable.

Thanks to the special WDW friend for information on this wonderful video.

Pictures from IHJ.

Jake Gyllenhaal back in London

I'm not certain on whether it's a habit I'd encourage - taking photos of sleeping passengers on trains while hiding behind seats - but here's the evidence that Jake's made good on his word to Maggie and is now in London. These two photos of Jake were taken yesterday while on the Eurostar between Paris and London.

I'm surprised to see Jake travelling by train but it'll take far less time than messing around with airports and it indicates he may have been staying in Paris.

Thanks very much to the WDW reader for the tip.

Photos from here.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Jake Gyllenhaal - film-maker and giggler extraordinaire

While we wonder what Jake's up to - whether he's putting his feet up and lying back by some pool, lined with palm trees, at a glamorous Riviera hotel, or risking life and limb cycling through London traffic - this seems like a good time for a brief reflection on some of the little things about the last Zodiac week. In my efforts to catch up, I almost missed this little gem - a video in which Jake gives his birthday wishes to Cannes. Blink and you'll miss it and you won't want to miss the famous Gyllengiggle.

I happened upon a journalist's blog account of life at the Cannes Film Festival and I was surprised to read that there had been technical problems at the morning screening of Zodiac on 17 March. This is not good news. Jury members attended all three screenings, as did members of the press, whose opinions on Zodiac can influence cinema-goers across the world.

Zodiac is still in its early days in Europe and elsewhere in the world (with an obvious, big exception) but initial signs are that the film is having a better reception in Europe than it did on homesoil - perhaps as Fincher had expected and possibly the reason for the emphasis on a European premiere, rather than an American grand opening. Not unexpectedly, Spider-Man 3 is still leading the international (ie, outside the US) box office, with the second film varying - in the UK it's 28 Weeks Later. But Zodiac is the international number 3.

Today there has been confirmation that the release date for the Zodiac DVD is 24 July. IGN informs us that 'the DVD will feature tons of bonus materials and extra features, and will be available for the MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) of $29.98.'

Finally, thanks to the SMG forum, which has new threads on Canne's 60th birthday celebrations, here's a link to Jake's own shoe video, which has already become a cult movie all of its own. All in one take, too.

A huge thank you to Stephanie at iheartjake who wasted no time in putting a whole gallery of Cannes photos up at IHJ for us all to enjoy.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Jake Gyllenhaal's special smile

Today IHJ made available a full and amazing set of photos that document the entire Zodiac Cannes adventure todate. But I was thrilled to see one picture in particular and so fair warning that this is a purely gratuitous posting! In this picture, I can relive the moment when Jake smiled directly at myself and my friends at the premiere last Thursday night. He'd asked us to yell his name louder, we obliged and this was our fabulous reward.

These two new pictures also caught my really can speak a thousand words.

Pictures from IHJ.