Friday, 30 May 2008

A student of Tibetan Buddhism - expect the unexpected

The Dalai Lama has been in town today, meaning lots of barricades, police horses and more protesting Buddhist monks than you expect to see in one lunchtime - not to mention all the tourists taking photographs of said protesting Buddhist monks. And right on the spot where Peter Sarsgaard was filming An Education the other week as well. However, all hope that something peaceful and good would result from my fleeting glimpse of the Dalai Lama being ushered into the Sheldonian Theatre was dispelled in shortshrift when, ten minutes later, round the corner, I was run over by a royal mail delivery van. Fortunately, I was ok and, unfortunately, so was the van.

This unusual lunchtime - unusual even for this town - inspired me to quote from my favourite onetime student of Tibetan Buddhism, Jake Gyllenhaal himself, whom, I believe, may have more luck in seeing the Dalai Lama without risk of damage by the postal services.

As mentioned here before, Jake and Maggie studied under Professor Thurman at Columbia University, and here Jake recalls how he got signed up for the course: '"The first class I took was Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism," he says, "My sister and I took that together; she was a senior when I was a freshman. And the first thing Professor Thurman says is 'All freshmen, out.' Maggie grabs my arm and says, 'Stay.' I whisper, 'He said freshmen out!' She's like, 'Yeah, yeah.'...So then he says, 'Sophomores out.' Then, 'All Juniors not majoring in Eastern religion, out.' And by now, I'm saying to Maggie, 'I've got to go!' She just kept telling me to stay."

"Eventually, he got through seniors-and she said, 'Now go up and talk to the TA. Beg him.' So I went up and begged and the guy said, 'Of course, no problem. The other people were just stupid and they left.' So we took that class, and it was wonderful. Maggie just knew. She's tough!...We're both pretty tough."'

Jake and the Dalai Lama have appeared together in print - in Radar Magazine's list of the top 100 overrated. Jake was no. 27, just two places behind the Dalai Lama at no. 25. I remember us having fun with the list at the time, and I am still bemused that cupcakes and going to Mars both featured in the top ten. Is it possible to overrate going to Mars? And do pandas, despite their limitations, really deserve the no. 13 spot?

It goes without saying that there's no argument with the top spot. And talking of Victoria Beckham - next Monday, Maggie Gyllenhaal will be sharing a stage with the WAG at the next event in the whirlwind that is the NYC social calendar. Maggie, Mrs Beckham and Eva Mendes will be co-presenting the Womenswear Designer of the Year award at the Council of Fashion Designer's America awards, 'with each of the women expected to wear a nominated designer. Posh (pictured) will don Marc Jacobs (she currently stars in the designer's ad campaign - click now to see the pics), Eva Mendes the face of Calvin Klein will wear (you guessed it) Calvin Klein in honour of Creative Director Francisco Costa who is also nominated, while Gyllenhaal will sport Proenza Schouler.'

Meanwhile, the saga that is called Nailed continues its ups and downs - this time, for a change, it's an up. Variety has confirmed that Nailed did go back to work yesterday (Thursday), despite its bouncing cheques, and gave some more background information. For the time being at least, SAG seems satisfied by the assurances concerning Nailed and other projects in the pipeline. Fingers crossed - although they've been crossed so long, they're starting to ache. That's even without the bash, courtesy of Royal Mail.

Includes pictures from IHJ, Just Jared and AFP.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Jake Gyllenhaal - one eye on the future and one straight ahead

This week, up and coming young actor Josh Hutcherson was interviewed about his new film Journey to the Centre of the Earth, in which he plays opposite Brendan Fraser. The 15 year old was asked what his dream was - he had two: to play soccer in a movie and to act with Jake Gyllenhaal (not necessarily in that order).

This reminded me of an interview Josh did just over a year ago now, when his movie Zarutha was doing the rounds. Then Josh was asked who he wanted to act with and, demonstrating that Josh knew then what he knows now, he replied 'I want to work with Jake Gyllenhaal because I love his acting and I love the way he’s taken his career path. He’s done movies that aren’t necessarily blockbuster movies. He’s done those too but he’s also done smaller films with more challenging roles and that’s what I want to do so I’d love to work with him.'

Likewise, the extremely talented Daniel Radcliffe was once asked who he wanted to act with and he picked Jake. At the end of 2007, Jake and Heath picked Once as their film of the year on Film 2007 - Daniel picked Zodiac.

So, although Jake is just 27 years old and arguably he is standing at a milestone with one of next year's biggest and potentially most exciting crowdpullers in his grasp, Prince of Persia, one realises that Jake is now influencing another even younger generation of actors that has ambitions to excel. A huge reason for this is the path Jake has taken, with its range and its astonishing maturity, as well as its challenges and glorious surprises.

When Jake appeared in Donnie Darko - a film that took about as long (or as short) to shoot as the time that Donnie himself had to wait for the end - Jake possibly had little idea about what a crucial role Donnie would prove to be. Big choices awaited. Jake went from Donnie to Joe Nast in Moonlight Mile, allowing him to work with giants of the stage and screen Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon. After this, Jake took two decisions which had a big impact on the rest of his career, one with and one against the advice of Dustin Hoffman, who clearly saw himself as some kind of mentor, having a son who was also called Jake.

Dustin told Jake that he was good but that he needed to be better and these skills would be learned in the theatre, so Jake took to the boards of the London West End. As a result of this, Jake was spotted by no fewer than three directors who influenced Jake's subsequent career - Roland Emmerich for The Day After Tomorrow, John Madden for Proof and Sam Mendes for Jarhead.

Although Dustin Hoffman advised Jake against The Day After Tomorrow, telling him to be patient and wait for roles that would follow from Moonlight Mile and This is our Youth, Jake wanted to do it and showed that he could be a young swoonworthy heart throb. So from disparate projects - one on the stage, the other in front of blue screen - Jake helped set the scene for the range of choices from which he can now take his pick.

This is the path Jake chose - but when the publicity was appearing for Donnie Darko, there was an alternative role on the cards and shows how choices apparently seemingly sealed do not always come to pass for whatever reason. While Jake was considering starring in Bernado Bertolucci's Dreamers, which would feature an amount of nudity Jake wasn't comfortable with, at the other end of the spectrum almost, it was widely anticipated that Jake would be appearing in Me and My Monster, as the boy and young adult whose life was changed by his friendship with an extraordinary creature. For some time, Neil Jordan's name was also attached to this 'Jake Gyllenhaal comedy vehicle', but before long so much had changed.

Includes pictures from IHJ and links.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Jake for all seasons

A gratuitous post this evening, inspired by having been caught not once, but twice today in unseasonably atrocious weather. I was unprepared, but Jake Gyllenhaal has demonstrated time after time that he knows just what to wear for the right occasion, with one or two notable exceptions...

Wet Jake

While most of us dislike wet weather for obvious reasons, one rarely hears complaints about wet Jake. As a result, when Jake is wet, he is usually shown to be enjoying it, knowing, as he must, how we appreciate it.

Wintry Jake

Jake has said that he loves snow, although as an inhabitant of Los Angeles he presumably has to travel to find it, but, now and again, film makers and photographers oblige and stick Jake in fake snow. In such situations, 700 denier North Face jackets are not essential. However, if you're going to the North Pole, you have to be prepared and you may have to go through survival training, as demonstrated below.

Cold Jake

Jake often looks cold when he leaves Los Angeles - especially when he visits New York City or London. Jake particularly looks cold whenever he visits London, even when it's not at all cold, it's as if he's trying to fit in. Jake has demonstrated time after time that he knows how to wear layers, one of which is often a well-loved cardigan.

Coldish weather has the added bonus of bringing out my favourite item in Jake's wardrobe - the blue toggle jumper, as modelled here.

To hear Jake talk about a remarkably itchy jumpy, please enjoy this video

Hot Jake

We all look forward to the summer, not least because Jake can shed the layers and do what he does best - look hot.

Includes pictures from IHJ and Photolicious.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

The Amazing Prince

The stunning artwork that is being generated for the forthcoming Prince of Persia video game seems to coincide perfectly with the anticipation for next year's movie, featuring Jake Gyllenhaal as the prince with the power to manipulate time.

The artwork is beautiful in its own right, with the prince's features clearly resembling those of Jake, coincidentally or fortuitously, hinting at the power and the charisma of Jake in this role. Thanks very much to those who have sent me images, via comment or by email, I've been fascinated by them all.

You can see more here.

Seen it all - 'Whirled Peace'

Maggie Gyllenhaal is a master or mistress of surprises and today's news about her latest project confirms this. According to Newsday and other sources: 'Dairy delight maker Ben & Jerry's and The Lennon Estate are expected to introduce a new ice cream flavor Tuesday called "Imagine Whirled Peace" _ while re-enacting the "Peace Bed-Ins" staged by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1969. The couple organized the week-long bed-ins to preach about world peace, conducting interviews with reporters. Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ben & Jerry's co-founder Jerry Greenfield are expected to reprise the roles. Efforts for spreading world peace and ice cream will most likely be announced. The new flavor is a caramel and sweet cream whirl of chocolate-covered peace signs and toffee pieces.'

Obviously, you can't get a cause much more important than world peace, but is selling ice cream the way forward? My very first passion in life was the music and humanity of John Lennon and I will admit to finding this whole scheme unpalatable, despite my appreciation for ice cream, not to mention Maggie.

Jake and Reese at Caffe Luxxe on Montana Ave, Santa Monica

Jake wasn't just out jogging on Sunday, he also found time to maintain his caffeine levels by visiting an old favourite, Caffe Luxxe on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica (not Culver City), with Reese. Thanks as always to IHJ for the new pictures. You can see more there.

Includes pictures from IHJ, Gamespot, here, and Zimbio.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Speedy Jake out for a Sunday run, 25 May

I may never be able to thank IHJ enough for the new pictures from LA - showing Jake Gyllenhaal jogging from Santa Monica to Brentwood with his personal trainer on 25 May. Yet again, Jake has robbed me of words (well any that make any sense or have more than syllable). Jake looks fantastic here, in amazing condition, all smiles and very speedy. Interesting shorts... I also think Jake could run faster without the top - the trainer should suggest that.

Four Feathers

This evening, Heath Ledger is on UK terrestrial TV again, this time in Four Feathers - BBC2, 9pm. I've never seen it bfore.

Pictures from IHJ, cm-life, The Cinematic Intelligence Agency.