Jake Gyllenhaal: Sea, sex and 'Source Code'
The actor discusses his new movie, 'Love and Other Drugs'
You’ve worked with Anne Hathaway before on ‘Brokeback Mountain’. Did this bring you closer?
‘Definitely, we learned a lot about each other. Being naked together is intimate, but less so than being emotionally intimate. She had a tough time sometimes and I would have to guide her through and vice versa. Anne is a very serious actor; she played a woman with early-onset Parkinson’s and she may have taken her character Maggie’s struggles into the process. A lot of it was me saying, “It doesn’t matter if it’s any good.”’
It doesn’t matter if it’s any good?
‘It doesn’t! You can’t really be worried if anything’s going to be good. I think worry is the stupidest emotion – there’s nothing you can do about it.'
Your character, Jamie, is very cocksure. Did playing him bring out a different side of you?
‘It did for a while. I found myself being a little more adventurous. But Jamie has an obnoxious and manipulative confidence, and it seems embarrassing to me to walk up to somebody and to lean in and try and sell something. Essentially what my character is doing in the movie is avoiding his feelings and I try not to do that.’
You had a two-week rehearsal process. Did the movie’s focus evolve during that?
‘It used to be a movie about a guy who meets a girl then is changed by the girl. Then Annie came in and I was like, “What are you talking about?” This has to be a love story. It’s about two people who come together and their lives are changed. You know, my character says you can meet a thousand people and none of them moves you and then you meet one person and your life is changed forever but you don’t know why.’
Do you believe that one romance can change your life?
‘I do, yeah. You can meet hundreds of people and you can have an amazing time, an interesting time and learn something, but every once in a while there’s someone that comes along and you’re just: pouff!’
You’ve spanned many different genres and roles in your career. Is this a conscious decision?
‘Yeah, that’s how I work, even in a take. I never do the same take twice, It’s something that frustrates certain actors. Maybe it’s an issue of trying out different corners of my mind. I love my audience and I try to make movies they haven’t seen before, explore something that hasn’t been explored before. Sometimes work is work and you just show up but I feel more and more an obligation to listen to what I believe in.’
Where do you see your career going?
‘I’d love to explore other aspects of the film industry. I grew up in a family who told, wrote and directed stories and I’d like to move in that direction. When you’re writing, you can come up with all different ideas, and when you’re directing you have power over different elements, not just one. I see the future in creating not just performances but hopefully whole stories.’
Any directing projects in the works?
‘I have a number of things that I’m developing. That’s probably where the future is for me. I mean, I’m not gonna quit my day job; I’d like to see how it goes.’
Which genre would you choose to direct?
‘I love stories of family and relationships, but I do love sci-fi, because sci-fi gives an opportunity for so many elements to come into play and the ability to look at reality from any angle and let your imagination go wild. I have quite an active mind.’
You’re starring in a sci-fi soon, ‘Source Code’.
‘Yes, with Duncan Jones [‘Moon’] directing, about a man who wakes up on a train who is not in his own body and has to figure out why. We had great fun coming up with all the ideas. That was thrilling. Some people find great comfort in context. I find great comfort in variation.’
How about your time off – how will you spend Christmas?
‘We have a family Christmas. We all get together and spend time with my niece [daughter of sister Maggie] and just deal with all the wonderful complications and love that is my family.’
Before that, you’ll be turning 30. How are you going to celebrate?
‘I was thinking about scuba diving in the Arctic with the walruses and killer whales – seriously! I was thinking about doing something that scared me and that freezing cold water with huge sea creatures sounds kind of scary. I’d like to mark the time by doing something frightening and then something that deeply comforts me, being with my family and friends and the people that have surrounded my life over the last 30 years.’
Read our review of 'Love and Other Drugs'
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