Monday, 31 March 2008

Jake Gyllenhaal's superhero adventure continues

Edited to add: There is a corker of a Jake Gyllenhaal April Fool springing and creeping around the net today. Enjoy!

One of the things that I find a lot of fun about following an actor is the speculation about forthcoming projects. This is especially true when you follow Jake Gyllenhaal, because he has reached that point in his career when really he could do just about anything and could go off in any kind of direction, mixing it up to varying degrees, constantly surprising, possibly making us scratch our heads when we hear of some roles, but delivering performances he believes in, in projects he believes in.

The rumours that pop up now and again about Jake's future roles are fascinating - sometimes they even turn out to be true even if the rumour tag hangs on to the last minute (Nailed, of course). Others, such as The Unnamed Moon Project, are announced early on and then kind of fade away, disappointingly to a scifi fan such as myself, at least for the time being. The Joe Namath project was another surprise and, at this stage, seems a long way off (just as well, maybe, with Jake's poor ankle as it is).

Other rumours have fallen by the wayside - mostly and strangely coincidentally involving superheroes - Superman, Spider-Man, the Green Hornet, one half of the Wonder Twins (with Maggie) in the Justice League of America, even Two-Face in The Dark Knight. And now the latest one to pop up - The Lone Ranger! It certainly does seem that studios and maybe audiences and maybe Jake himself have a desire to see Jake kitted out in spandex and mask, saving us from evil beyond our imagination while rippling some muscles honed to perfection.

This particular instalment of the Superhero Jake adventure has the producers of the Pirates of Caribbean franchise 'focus on the hero's origin story, where a group of Texas Rangers are ambushed and slain by outlaws. An American Indian named Tonto finds a lone survivor, and together, they make a pact to bring the gang to justice. No cast or crew have been named as yet, but the likes of Brad Pitt, Jake Gyllenhaal and Casey Affleck are rumoured as contenders for the title role.'

If nothing else, this shows that Jake is in that privileged and small circle of Hollywood actors, who are top choices for the most successful of directors and producers intent on making a blockbuster. Alternatively, these actors can prefer to make a film to make us think. Or they can do both - ideally, at the same time.

Another film that Jake has been associated with in the past - to the extent that he was seen with what looked like the name of the film etched down his forearm - is Torso. This serial killer movie is a future project for David Fincher. opinion is divided on whether Jake should work with Fincher again or not after the experiences of Zodiac. However, as someone who believes that Zodiac contains some of Jake's finest work, I would welcome this reunion. However, maybe Jake thinks differently, because Matt Damon's is the last name associated with the role of Eliot Ness. More recently [and I can't locate the link at the moment], it looks like no names are attached even though the movie has the go ahead.

Back in 2006, Jake was also associated with The Sparrow. This project, which tells the story of a 'Jesuit priest [who] accompanies a space crew to a distant planet after Earth receives its first contact from aliens' has Brad Pitt for a producer and Brad himself is now rumoured to be the lead in this film - now put back to 2010. Interestingly, Matt Damon had also been associated with this project, alongside Jake's. It all makes it very interesting.

And finally

A shameless plug for the new album - Red - by the Guillemots, a band favoured by Jake and one I have mentioned here before. Jake has been spotted watching the Guillemots' amazing and unusual gigs (it has been said said that you see a Guillemots' show and at the end you want to hug the person next to you) and at Glastonbury 2007, the band were asked about their famous fan: 'F.D. Jake Gyllenhaal was nice. Very shy. Didn't seem like a movie star in his hoodie… G.S.: …But he did have a girl with him. F.D.: And he was very cool. He told us he sang along to our songs in his car… Strange.' Not strange at all. What was slightly stranger was hearing that much of this album was recorded in a London synagogue. - this is an album with a loud heart and brave acoustics that makes you want to listen to it over and over again.

Thanks to Monica for the link. Includes pictures from IHJ.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Jake Gyllenhaal's Mexican holiday - And now back at LAX [updated]

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been missing Jake and wondering how he was getting on with his painful ankle. But I don't think he's been missing us because Jake was seen on 29 March at Cabo San Lucas airport, along with Reese and her two children, on their way back from their holidays in the sunny, sandy, southern tip of the Baja California peninsula of Mexico - Just look at this place!

But an even more delicious sight than the white sandy beaches, blue seas and dramatic rock formations of this paradise for sun-worshippers and watersports enthusiasts alike is the sight of Jake Gyllenhaal in a t-shirt and jeans. After a winter of flannel shirts, it is so good to see Jake in his summer combo, with the Nike back where they belong. However, it's not so good to see that Jake is still in need of two crutches - juggling one's way through airport security is never easy even without unwieldy crutches. But we can see Jake getting some help and the big box of Game Ready suggests that Jake is taking his recovery very seriously. It's probably just as well that Jake has a desk job in Nailed.

Update - Back at LAX 29 March

And now, thanks to the wonders of IHJ, here they all are back at LAX, maybe feeling in need of another holiday already (but at least they weren't at Heathrow's Terminal 5). It must have been frustrating for Jake to be hobbling around on his crutches when everyone else also had their hands full, so at one point he seems to have given up, hopefully not for long.

I'd like to point out that these don't look like ideal driving conditions to me... even for LA.

Peter in London

Peter Sarsgaard has been spotted in London again! Or at least the filming of An Education has been. Last week, the production was seen by an IMDb poster at Walthamstow Dog Stadium. The hunt continues...

Thanks to IHJ for all the new pics!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

'It's never too early' to kiss Jake Gyllenhaal

This week, the UK's Independent newspaper did a fascinating feature on the most significant kisses of the movies. These screen kisses are significant for a whole range of reasons - because they show that first, much longed for kiss (The Empire Strikes Back); because of their location and setting (From Here to Eternity); because it is excruciating to watch (Entrapment); because it took place at the moment of death (Godfather 2); because it's aggressive (Gone With the Wind); because a character really needed it (In Search of a Midnight Kiss). Or because the kiss is forbidden - and this kiss is first on the list and it comes from Brokeback Mountain.

'The kiss that has been topping recent polls as the best screen smacker of all time is the second big encounter in the film, when Jack Twist (Gyllenhaal) arrives at the home of Ennis Del Mar (Ledger) some time after their first fumble in a tent on an isolated Wyoming mountain. Ennis thinks he's being clever by pushing Jack around so that they can end up in a spot that's out of sight of his wife Alma (Michelle Williams) and they lock tongues, arms and legs as if their lives depended on it. Unfortunately, Alma can still see them out of the window. This forbidden kiss has the extra spice of breaking two rules – it is both a gay kiss, and an extramarital one.'

Both Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger spent an inordinate amount of time during the promotion of Brokeback discussing what it was like to kiss one another. The Independent had earlier resisted the urge to ask itself, although clearly tempted: 'The kissing-Heath-Ledger question, then, feels a bit trite. (For posterity, it was "exfoliating" [Empire], it "hurt" (New York Times) and, says Ledger, was "just like kissing a person" [Entertainment Weekly].)'

Heath told the BBC: 'Well I don't have an image, and I didn't then. But it was a very difficult decision because it scared the hell out of me. And I didn't want to kiss Jake Gyllenhaal, you know? [Laughs].' Producer James Schamus said: 'Everybody says (Heath Ledger)'s so brave to take this role. To me, there are worse jobs than kissing Jake Gyllenhaal.' I do agree - in fact I think every job is a worse job - but James didn't actually have to do it himself. Heath also honestly admitted: '“I didn’t really want to kiss Jake [Gyllenhaal],” the “Brokeback Mountain” star told Hotdog mag. “Not only that, but it was hard looking him in the eyes and telling him I loved him. To show love in the eyes for another man is something I’ve never done. Everything was new about it — so quite obviously there was fear about it.”'

Heath joked to TotalFilm: 'It was definitely tough – it took a lot of courage and once I got home I felt slightly violated! I think going in to the film, Jake and I had a lot of respect for one another just for making this choice but we also understood that we had a responsibility to tell the story. To act out the scenes, I guess you have to suspend reality and harness the power of belief in the performance, you know? We’d convinced ourselves of the story and the love between these guys and between the words “action” and “cut” we didn’t think about the fact that it was Heath kissing Jake. If we had, we probably wouldn’t have been able to complete the scene. We really had to believe in our environment. It was tough subject matter for sure but just be conquering it and doing justice to the story. We all felt very proud.'

Jake was more taken aback by how rough it was: 'Heath almost broke my nose in (a kissing) scene. He grabs me and he slams me up against the wall and kisses me. And then I grab him and I slam him up against the wall and I kiss him. And we were doing take after take after take. I got the shit beat out of me. We had other scenes where we fought each other and I wasn't hurting as badly as I did after that one.'

Ang Lee seems not to have had too much sympathy form his stars' unease at smooching. He told the BBC: 'Yeah [laughs]. I encouraged them to do a passionate kiss and I encouraged them [saying that] you could never kiss a woman that hard so give me the most heroic western kiss and they went about it and almost broke each other's noses. At the time we were easy enough [together] to crack jokes. Usually I don't rehearse those scenes - technically I will rehearse it, but how they [the actors] go about it, I just expect them to deliver.' Jake said: 'We were talking about the kissing in the movie just recently. Clearly, it's pretty challenging material, but Ang said two men herding sheep was far more sexual than two men having sex on screen.'

The Brokeback kiss has become a landmark in cinema and, of course, in 2006, Jake collected the MTV award for Best Kiss from a very excitable Justin Timberlake. Jake said: 'This is a real honor, not just for me and Heath but for all of you, that you picked this movie and this kiss over all the other one. If we didn't win this award, it wasn't worth it. Now it was worth it.' And, in early 2007, the kiss was voted as the top movie kiss of all time by LOVEFiLM.

Although the Brokeback kiss is quite possibly the most famous kiss of Jake's career, there have been others. Jake once told W magazine that his best screen kiss came from Jennifer Aniston in The Good Girl and, having seen the obvious chemistry between Jake and Jen on more than one occasion, this comes as no surprise. When Jake presented Jen with her GLAAD Vanguard award, he said 'Everybody falls in love with Jennifer, and I have to say, it’s always her fault.' If you can watch the video below, you can relive that fabulous moment when Jake said 'smooooch'.

There's a funny account of how Jake and Jen approached the love scene of The Good Girl: Jennifer 'did find solace in Jake’s own approach to the moment, as she told the magazine that “Jake was as nervous as I was. Finally you just go for it. I couldn’t ask for a better, sweeter person to be devirginized on film with.” For his part, Jake discussed his experience working on the scene: “We had been making out for weeks in other scenes, and this was just some more hip grinding; some more kissing. Jennifer turned to me at one point and said, ‘That wasn’t so hard. I’ve faked it before.’” Throughout the production, he developed something of a protective stance toward his leading lady; he says that at one point, “I remember we were in bed one day, and Miguel Arteta screamed, ‘Stop joking around.’ And I thought, ‘This is Jennifer Aniston, motherf***er. You don’t yell at her.’”'

An earlier of Jake's leading ladies, Emmy Rossum, rather famously won her role in The Day After Tomorrow by going for a full-out snog with Jake during her audition - an approach that is praiseworthy and one that Jake seemed to have appreciated: As Emmy said, she had to kiss Jake so she might as well get on with it. 'It had to be. There was no choice for me. It was gonna be there. It also wasn't difficult. He's terribly attractive. So it wasn't like the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my whole life but, at the same time, I think the heat had to be there. Somebody had to melt the ice! (laughter).'

'I definitely auditioned. I went in and sat on the bench next to all the other girls that were auditioning. I wasn't given any kind of special treatment by any means. I got a meeting with Roland and Mark, went in and read for them, got a screen test with Jake, went in and I did that. I knew that that screen test was the moment when I had to prove myself. That's when you've gotta show it. You've gotta bring it. I think that anybody can run through water but not necessarily anybody can run through water while bringing the heart and emotion to the character.'

Another account of the lovely and demonstrative Emmy revealed: 'This 19-year-old is no wallflower. When she met hunky star Jake Gyllenhaal one morning a few years ago, Rossum pulled a move worthy of the Phantom. "I went over to him and said, 'Look, I know it's 9 a.m., but is it OK if I kiss you?' " Rossum recalls. When he consented ("He said, 'It's never too early!' "), she obliged. "I knew if I didn't do it, it would seem like I was scared. And I wanted to kiss him. He's very, very cute." Of course, that was right before her audition for the pair's 2004 action flick, "The Day After Tomorrow." And yes, she got the part. ("Because I kissed him!" she says.)'

I could go on and on, about these and more kisses, but I can't stop without mentioning the one leading lady who was reduced to tears by her Jake kisses. I think you know who I mean... For those who have never watched Proof, this video just features the Jake bits.

Some other Jake kisses:

Includes pictures from IHJ.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Jarhead - 'a horse comes towards him out of the desert, out of the blackness'

Today, one of the best scenes in Jarhead - if not one of the best scenes out of all of Jake Gyllenhaal's movies - features in the UK newspaper The Guardian. Cinematographer Roger Deakins, who has been nominated for no fewer than 7 Oscars, was asked to pick the 'five favourite shots of his career'. One of these is the strangely beautiful and disturbing scene in which Jake as Swoff encounters a horse in a black rain of oil.

'Some people loved this movie, while some people hated it. The whole film was quite a challenge and I'm quite proud of the way it turned out. The brief was to create night-time scenes where the platoon was within half a mile of the oil fires in Kuwait during the Gulf war. I wanted to create a feeling of a dense, smoky atmosphere through which you could see the light coming from the fires. There are extended sequences of this type of effect throughout the film, but my favourite scene is the one in which Jake Gyllenhaal leaves the rest of the platoon, walks off alone and a horse comes towards him out of the desert, out of the blackness, and it's dripping in oil: an amazing, surreal image.'

'We thought about trying to shoot it on location out in the desert, but we knew we wouldn't be able to control the smoke if it was a windy night, so we ended up shooting most of that material on a sound stage; we blacked out the walls and put sand on the floor of the stage, then filled it with smoke sitting at a certain level, to create a landscape of endless night. I created the effect of the oil fires using columns of bare bulbs as a 360-degree light source for a flame effect. In post-production we replaced the light source with an actual shot we'd done of an oil fire and, incredibly, it matched perfectly.'

This scene in which Swoff calms the horse may be my favourite scene in Jarhead (well, my favourite Jarhead scene that doesn't feature a Santa hat) but for a whole film of favourite scenes then that would be Zodiac. So, because it's been a while since I gave Zodiac a mention here, here's a video of Jake (preceded by Mark Ruffalo) at the NYC screening of Zodiac, last Spring. This video has its charms for Rendition lovers as well because this is Rendition Jake taking a break from filming in Morocco. Jake sounds relieved that his character is spared the extravagance of Mark Ruffalo's 70s' attire - after Moonlight Mile, Jake had probably been expecting the worse.

Maggie heading for the UK

Maggie Gyllenhaal has pulled out of The Private Lives of Pippa Lee because the shooting in Connecticut had been extended from two to five weeks. 'But when the new scheduling stretched out her shoot over five weeks, she chose to stay with Peter Sarsgaard and their newborn as he films "An Education" in the U.K. The departure was amicable, given her close friendship with co-star Julianne Moore and the producers, who also made her acclaimed indie "SherryBaby." Gyllenhaal is considering other screen roles in the coming weeks.' So Pippa Lee's loss is Peter's and London's gain.

And finally

As promised, Paul, here is Trumpet Jake! I must thank (I think...) GHO for her surprise gift of Guitar Jake in a message today.

Includes pictures from IHJ.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Jake - 'I am writing music and playing'

A flyby post this evening because I have a nurse's cap and apron on - and I don't mean in a good way - so, in between looking after those who may not have been wise to eat that month-old pizza for lunch, here's a brief Jaking interlude.

I was very amused today by the Battle of the Bands between Maroon 5 - favourites of mine - and Radiohead - favourites of everybody in the world except me. So when I had the chance today I did some rummaging and discovered that Jake Gyllenhaal is - or was (probably far more accurate...) - a fan of Radiohead. Way back in 1999, the young Jake was asked what type of music he enjoyed and if he was still in a band: 'The band that I was in, "Holeshot," broke up. I am not currently in any band...but I am writing music and playing. I listen to all different kinds of music. I love The Pixies, Radiohead, Rufus Wainwright, Bob Dylan, The Toots and the Maytals, Beck, Belle and Sebastian, and Bruce Springsteen, to name a few.'

Do we have any Toots fans out there? Someone who likes the Maytals maybe? At least, I've heard of Beck and even own a few songs by The Pixies. I do own several Radiohead albums but I blame that on factors beyond my control. I would love to hear something of the music Jake says he is writing here - I wonder if that's still a hobby he finds time for.

While looking at this old interview, I'm delighted to see that Jake appreciates the poems of Dylan Thomas. Following on from yesterday's theme, Jake also mentions: 'I would consider Paul Newman my biggest inspiration. I believe that he has made wonderfully wise choices in both his career and his life that I respect and admire. He is the real thing. I love Sean Penn's work. I also love Cate Blanchett's work. (those are just two actors that come to mind on impulse).' I believe that Jake too is that rare 'real thing'.

However, Jake may have been a fan of Radiohead but he has not appeared in a video with all or any of the band. But Jake has appeared with schoolpal Maroon 5 Adam Levine in the SNL spoof 'I Ran', which made fun of Jake's very hairy status at that time. This video is all but gone from the net but you can read the lyrics and still see the video here.

Bits and bits

Jake is now no longer merely 'rumoured' by IMDb to be a star of Nailed. Also firmly attached is my favourite X-Man (Cyclops James Marsden), Catherine Keener and Tracy Morgan.

Peter Sarsgaard continues to film An Education in London and has been spotted! Last night an IMDb reader posted: 'Well, I live just down the street from St John's Church (now a concert hall) in Smith Square, Westminster (where they filmed the wedding in Atonement) and they were filming a departing-a-theatre-or-opera scene where Rosamund says something like 'I hope so'. Sarsgaard and Dominic Cooper were also there. They are still dismantling the set as I speak!' The 'dismantling' bit means that yet again the chase continues!

Includes pictures from IHJ.