Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Lemons, Brothers hopes and Brokeback's Twilight lessons

A bitty post this evening, aggravated by the Great British Heatwave that has now reached Level 2 (the official advice from the government states 'Stay cool'). I walked past an empty hot pub this evening and there in the doorway was the landlord sporting a handwritten sign, ala Bob Dylan, with the legend 'This pub is nice!'. Jake Gyllenhaal and the cast and crew of Reese's DC-shoot movie have been following the British government's official advice and buying Rita's Ice by the ton, contributing to Rita's charity and signing lemons (paper not actual) to prove it. 'Viva DC!'

The Brothers buzz is beginning to build, although information is still scarce. Next year's Academy Awards will permit 10 films into the Best Movie category, widening the chances for films such as The Dark Knight to be nominated in the future, but also giving more opportunity to Brothers.

Empire has put Brothers into the Oscars Race: 'Jim Sheridan directs Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman in a remake of Susanne Bier’s Danish drama about two brothers, one of whom goes missing in Afghanistan, and the woman in their lives. If Oscar had a Facebook page, this would be one of its Top Friends, but much depends on the finished product. Sheridan’s 50 Cent movie spoiled a perfectly good run for the Irish director; hopefully this will get him back on track – and with U2 writing a track for it, expect a Best Song nod too. Status: Looking Good.'

Although there is no corroboration for this whatsoever, a poster on ProIMDb is suggesting that they have seen the trailer for Brothers, that it is good, and that it features U2's song Bad. True? Who knows, but we'll see soon enough.

Update: Another poster has just said 'I just went to an early screening of Public Enemies and this trailer was on it... It looks pretty good!' I'm beginning to think the trailer might be out there, waiting for us!

A video that has appeared on YouTube and caught my attention features an MTV interview with Melissa Rosenberg, the screenwriter of the Twilight saga.

In it, Melissa discusses her influences for turning the words of the original novels into believable characters in a script and on the big screen. Her influences for how to portray love were Romeo and Juliet and also, and most strongly by the sound of it, Brokeback Mountain. Brokeback Mountain is 'the great model of forbidden love'.

'MTV: So when it came time to portray the Edward/Bella romance, you thought about Heath and Jake? Rosenberg: Well, "Brokeback Mountain" for two reasons: One, the short story [that was the basis] for "Brokeback Mountain" is beautiful, pure, very small — 20 or 40 pages — and the writers of "Brokeback Mountain" [the movie] would take one sentence, one four-word sentence, and it would become a story line. It would become a character. It was such a beautiful adaptation. I learned a great deal from reading that book and then watching the movie. It taught me a lot about adapting. But I had the opposite challenge with "Twilight" than they had with "Brokeback" — with "Brokeback," they had to let it grow and breathe. I had to condense a great deal. For instance, with the James character and the evil vampires — taking what is really only the last 25 percent of the [novel] and bringing it forward. There were a couple moments like that where you go, "OK, wait a minute, [Meyer] is just suggesting this. But let's let it play."'

'MTV: But as far as the Edward/Bella romance is concerned, you see similarities to the "Brokeback" relationship? Rosenberg: Yeah, it was just so poignant, and the forbidden-love element, that you have this deep yearning and passion and yet you have to keep it secret — to want to be with each other and to have to stay away on some level. So "Brokeback," for me, was a great model for how to structure the romance in the story.'

Who would ever have thought that there could be a connection?

Monday, 29 June 2009

Here comes the sun

As the hot summer continues, growing hotter by the day, time to turn up the heat - Jake Gyllenhaal has lips and he's not afraid to use them. There are few more pleasing, beautiful, deadly sights than a GyllenSmile and Jake has an arsenal of them at his disposal. Each finds its target.

Remember the unforgettable Aqua Velva scene in Zodiac, when Jake's Robert Graysmith proudly announces to Robert's Paul Avery that the killer may be using a code named the Zodiac Alphabet? In his commentary to the film, David Fincher had this to say about that smile on Jake's face: 'I love that goofy smile that Jake has... sort of proud of himself but it doesn't look like he has a lot of control over his presentation of that - it seems very real!' Goofy smile - that's definitely one of the smiles Jake can draw on, and here are just a very few of the many others.

The Lop-sided smile.

The Hesitant smile.

The 'Pinch me' smile.

The 'What do I know? smile.

The Charm smile.

The cheeky grin.

The 'Did he really just say that' smile.

The sexy, ' Come get me' smile.

The 'I swear to God, it's a true anecdote!' smile

The embarrassed smile.

The smug 'I no longer get confused for a tube of toothpaste' smile.

The 'I'm at work' smile.

The Interested smile.

The party smile.

The cheesy grin.

And so many more... like summer rays, endless.

Includes pictures from IHJ.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Insights into Jake Gyllenhaal's craft - 'He is a true clown - brilliant, tragic, and bittersweet'

Jake Gyllenhaal's creations over the years have been given the tag of 'misfit' on more than one occasion - Donnie Darko, Holden Worther and Jimmy Livingston spring immediately and uncalled to mind. But Homer Hickam, Jack Twist and Robert Graysmith were hardly well-integrated members of their society and Douglas Freeman was definitely out on a limb. Tommy Cahill looks to have all the hallmarks of misfit, not least because he begins Brothers locked in a cell. But does the label fit? Ask Jake and this might be what you hear...

'"Misfit? That's such crap... I find wounded to be a better word, but I don't like it sounding inactive, victim-y. I just choose these [roles] because there's stuff to do, whereas other characters are just 'the football jock,' or 'the nerd,' or 'the best friend.' If the material is good, it leaves me more room to play. I've had many chances in movies to be emotionally unstable."

"I feel like I've unintentionally boxed myself in because I've chosen good writing," said the actor. "For me it really just came down to that and continuously comes down to that."

Is Jake selling out by taking on blockbuster roles? '"I'm not going to; it's just that simple," answered Gyllenhaal. "I do have a strategy, in the sense that I am making a big movie with the hope that it will give me the opportunity to make the movies that I want to make. Actors have to make political decisions. They have to say, 'In order to do what I love to do, I need to make a movie that everyone is going to see.' But if I'm going to make that movie, I'm going to make it with integrity and I'm going to try to bring it to the most human level possible."'

Nicole Holocener, director of Lovely & Amazing, said of Jake: '"He responds purely and simply, I guess because he listens so well... He really focused on Catherine Keener and listened intently to everything her character said. He was incredibly focused but never took himself too seriously. He couldn't resist cracking us all up, which he did, all the time. He'd usually have four drooling females from the set laughing at his bad jokes. He is a true clown - brilliant, tragic, and bittersweet."'

Susan Sarandon: '"I can't say enough about him. I adore him. He's so smart and so agile at what he does. His work ethic and professionalism is way beyond his years. I find him inventive and questioning - and he's so cute. I learned a lot from working with him."'

On learning his craft: '"It just started off as wanting to mimic things. It came from an instinct of wanting to observe people."... However, he more recently came to the conclusion that his instincts as an actor could take him only so far. As he said, "Technique is, I think, what separates a child from an adult." His realization that he needed to develop an actual technique came from his awareness of his own limitations as an actor. "There are ways of saying and feeling lines that can lead someone to melodrama/bad acting, and I think sometimes I do go there," he admitted.'

'Gyllenhaal recently began working with an acting coach, though it took him some time to find the right one. Said the actor, "I went through a series of coaches and settled on working with someone, and basically what we do is, I go thoroughly through a script every day for months and break it down. I give everything a connection to something in my life. You can't play anything that's not close to you. That's what I've discovered throughout this year of performances I have been giving. I can't play anything that is truly real if I don't understand it myself."'

Work ethic: 'This spring Gyllenhaal performed with Hayden Christensen and Anna Paquin in the successful London production of Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth, an experience Gyllenhaal described bluntly as "fucking hard" but amazing. "It was the first time I tested out doing a tremendous amount of work," he said. "I know now that whatever I do next, I'll put so much preparation into it, out of respect for everybody involved, out of respect for myself, and out of respect for the audience that will see it." He added, "That's the thing that pisses me off about myself and about other young actors - approaching things nonchalantly." This wonderful interview was printed in Back Stage West back in August 2002.

Includes pictures from IHJ.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Knocking down the dominoes and filling in the gaps - Jake and Peter

Maggie Gyllenhaal isn't the only member of the GyllenGaard to have a move in, or about to hit, theatres. Peter Sarsgaard will be seen on the big screen in the US from 24 July in Orphan. And, while I can't say that I'm a big afficionado of films with scary children who can lurk and scream on command, it's true to say there's definitely something wrong with Esther.

To commemorate Peter's re-entry into theatres, here is a brief but affectionate post about Peter and his favourite brother-in-law Jake Gyllenhaal, who have appeared together in two films, most memorably in Jarhead: 'In "Jarhead," he plays Troy, the mentor to a young recruit (Jake Gyllenhaal) as they fight boredom in the desert in the 1991 war. It's a guarded, intense performance, a Sarsgaard specialty. "The easiest way to steal something is to pick it up and walk out of the room with it," he says. Oscar buzz-builder Jeffrey Wells of Hollywoodelsewhere.com predicts Sarsgaard will "score big with this performance." Gyllenhaal was left in awe.'

'"I spent the whole movie going, 'Is Peter just lazy? Does he care to be here?' " Gyllenhaal says. "And in that remarkable big moment, the crux of the film, I sat there after three or four takes, all phenomenal, and I shook my head. You could see all the dominoes that he'd lined up, in his performance, up to then. "He knocked them over, and I was like, 'Whoa. What? Can I go back and do my part over again? From the start?' "You never know what he's doing. But he's just lining up the dominoes."'

In return, Peter looked up to Jamie Foxx: '"The man was incredible: He was going through his Oscar stuff at the same time he was doing this movie," Sarsgaard says. "I have a lot of respect for his ability to do that, but it's also interesting to see how that worked with everyone's relationship with him. He's sort of the distant father, the guy we all respect and look up to." "Jarhead's" other cast members regarded Foxx with admiration on- and off-screen, according to Sarsgaard. "Jamie took that sense of pride and authority, and it's in (his performance)," he says. "We all relate to it — it actually really works in the movie."'

And on how Jarhead affected his relationship with Jake, Peter has some interesting things to say: 'Sarsgaard gives a loud if not entirely mirthful honk of laughter. 'Hah! I would say that ultimately it affected it positively, although there were times when we didn't get on that well at all. There's a 10-year gap between us and in life it's like I'm Jake's older brother. But brothers can fall out, of course, and while most of the time Jake is as respectful of me as I am of him, sometimes he forgets that and gets a little … mmm, awkward. And then there was the fact that Maggie became jealous because she and I have always wanted to do a film together, but here I was acting with Jake. So, there were certain issues that needed to be resolved, put it that way.'

'"On the other hand, being very good friends with Jake was a great help on the film. To begin with, there wasn't that much of a part for me on paper, but we found we were able to fill in the gaps with our relationship. Obviously, I wouldn't have been able to do that with another actor."'

''I don't want to spend my whole time in this showbiz bubble. I try to make sure that all my friends aren't actors. Sometimes, though, that can be quite hard. For instance, you have to go to a certain number of showbiz parties as an actor and if you get invited to something by Russell Crowe then it's hard to refuse. But, if you're not careful, that sort of thing can take you over and suddenly you find your life has become very small and airless.'

'In the past few months, however, something quite unexpected has happened to Peter Sarsgaard: people have begun to stop him in the street to ask for his autograph. 'Normally, when I'm walking along with Jake and a crowd of people comes towards us, they walk straight through me to get to him - and I stand by the car until he's finished. But now people have begun holding out these pieces of paper for me to sign.' 'How does that feel?' 'Incredibly bizarre!' he says. 'Quite disconcerting, in fact. You see, I've got so used to being invisible.''

To finish, this video has some of my favourite moments of Jake and Peter together - featuring Jake's 'ridiculous roast beef'.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Jake on the boards - 'It's totally weird, like, taking all your clothes off and having sex with someone you barely know...'

Remember all those Farragut North readings and rumours from 2007/2008? Well, now the play is cast and ready to go - not with Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead, not even with Leo DiCaprio, but with James T Kirk Chris Pine at the helm. So while we muse on what might have been, time to think on what was.

Jake first took to the boards alongside Hayden Christensen and Anna Paquin: 'Obviously, I knew all their work and have been following them both since they were very little. I personally didn't actually know either of them, though I hung around outside their houses without either of them knowing, taking weird Polaroids of their naked body parts. Besides that, nothing really, like, weird. Nothing I haven't done before with other actors I've worked with. [All laugh]'

'I was born in 1980, so I do have clear memories of the later '80s. I knew the resonance of the Reagan era in America in my family and in the house. We weren't necessarily very happy about that time. But then again, I grew up in a relatively well-off family, so it didn't affect us as much as some other families in America. Which I think is a lot of what this play is about - rich kids who are safety-netted by all this money. And even when they're in contradiction to the politics of the time, they have no, you know, where is your political standing when you've had no real struggle? How do you develop anything when...'

'...These kids aren't impoverished financially, but they are emotionally. I think a lot of times financial poverty breeds emotional poverty, but there are plenty of times where the opposite happens. And I think the play is eventually pretty com- passionate because these kids are going through horrible, horrible things and dealing with it by creating their own reality through drugs, pop culture, a way of speaking.'

The script: 'My favourite line last week was that speech I have: 'It's totally weird, like, taking all your clothes off and having sex with someone you barely know, and then being like, "What's up now?" You know? Like it's such an intense experience, but then nobody knows what to fuckin' say, even though nothing bad actually happened'. Jake's second favourite line: 'You're a fucking loser'. More here.

This Is Our Youth Jake got back to the subject of sex when interviewed with the other two for London's Metro: ''We've a Republican president, we're on the edge of recession, the divide between rich and poor is still stratospheric,' says Gyllenhaal. 'We might not be those kids but we know people like them. We might not choose to express the depth of our insecurities with drug deals but everyone remembers what it feels like to have sex for the first time.'

I'll end with a review, this one is from the Telegraph: 'But I don't want to make the piece sound excessively solemn. It is full of delicious humour, with Lonergan nailing the excruciating rites of adolescent passage. Just the sight of Warren's awkward dancing and over-eager snogging reduced me to tears of laughter and poignant recognition of my own distant youth. Laurence Boswell directs this marvellous trio of actors with both confidence and an illuminating attention to detail. Gyllenhaal seizes all his chances as Warren, a beautiful and befuddled loser. But he also movingly suggests a lovable, vulnerable character just beginning to grow into maturity.' '

'As Dennis, Christensen edgily captures all the raging solipsism of youth, and that first appalled recognition that we may not be immortal, or indeed all that special, after all, while Paquin touchingly portrays all the locquaciously defensive insecurity of teenage romance.' Anyone who has ever smoked a joint or kissed anyone will love This Is Our Youth.'

Includes pictures from IHJ, here and Desiring Hayden.