Maggie Gyllenhaal

The actor talks fashion, fans and her 9/11 kerfuffle.

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Illustration: Rob Kelly

It's safe to say that Maggie Gyllenhaal has babies on the brain. She's currently or soon will be starring in three movies—Sherrybaby, World Trade Center and Trust the Man—in which she plays women whose lives revolve around the kids they have, plan to have or want to have. It's also safe to say that Gyllenhaal, 28, has a baby in her belly—the onetime indie It girl is seven months pregnant by her fianc, actor Peter Sarsgaard. But, as TONY discovered, the West Village resident didn't want to talk about it that day.

It's safe to say that Maggie Gyllenhaal has babies on the brain. She's currently or soon will be starring in three movies—Sherrybaby, World Trade Center and Trust the Man—in which she plays women whose lives revolve around the kids they have, plan to have or want to have. It's also safe to say that Gyllenhaal, 28, has a baby in her belly—the onetime indie It girl is seven months pregnant by her fianc, actor Peter Sarsgaard. But, as TONY discovered, the West Village resident didn't want to talk about it that day. "I really have to keep my baby, who's not even a full baby yet, out of the press," she demurred by phone. Damn you, stupid hormones!

I work with a guy who has a gigantic crush on you. Flattering or creepy?

It depends. If it's just sort of a nice, gentle crush, then it's flattering.

Why, do you have a lot of creepy fans?

Not really. Every once in a while someone makes a lewd remark. I'll be walking along and someone says, "Oh, you're from Secretary," and I'll smile. Then they'll say something inappropriate. And I keep smiling—like it almost doesn't sink in—and whoever I'm walking with will say, "Fuck off."

Why don't you tell them to fuck off?

Usually I'm caught off guard—and because I'm trying to be gracious.

How did you prepare for your role as an ex-addict ex-con in Sherrybaby?

It's funny—when journalists ask me that question, I feel like I haven't done my homework. I went to halfway houses and prisons, but it wasn't like I was there with a pad and paper.

Watching the scene where you were shooting up, I thought, Jesus, how does someone research that?

I don't really know. When things are as bad as they are for Sherry, there isn't the luxury to wallow in or even feel pain and anger. The only thing she has is this naive, fierce hopefulness.

You caught some hell for the comments you made last year about 9/11.

I did, and it was incredibly hard at first. It scared me into silence, and that's a shame.

Where did people get the idea that you said we deserved it?

I really don't know. Lately my feeling has been, Let me explain what I meant and how I was misunderstood and what I wished I'd been able to get across. I never said we deserved 9/11. That sentiment did not come from me, and I was shocked and hurt that it was attributed to me.

I read an article in which you were described as having "a sweetly mesmerizing old-fashioned face." What do you think of the way people react to your looks?

When people are writing a magazine article, they're usually pretty nice. But there's this website of a woman who just hates the way I dress. And of course, when someone is writing bad things about you, you have to read them.

More than once!

[Laughs] Right! So I just clicked on pictures of me in every outfit I'd ever worn for years, and she was just ripping them apart. At first I felt awful and then I thought, I like that outfit, and that one, too! It's hard to have to get dressed for ten different things in two weeks. Give me a break!

I found an Internet biography about you that says, "Fact: Maggie and Jake like to pretend they have another sibling that they hide in the closet." Have you seen it?

[Laughs] No! No! That obviously did not come from us!

So you never pretended to have another sibling? My sister and I did.

Really?

We had a lot of downtime....

Jake and I never did that, no.

Do you have a favorite joke?

I do. A chicken and an egg are in bed together—have you heard this one?

I feel like I might have, but please, continue.

A chicken and egg are in bed together, and the chicken is kind of tossing and turning and the egg is leaning against the pillows smoking a cigarette. And the chicken turns to the egg and says, "Well, I guess we answered that question."

Sherrybaby opens September 8; World Trade Center and Trust the Man are now playing. Click here for theaters and showtimes.

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