Friday, April 01, 2011

My Jake Gyllenhaal interview...

Jake: I didn't see myself in Source Code
By Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star) Updated April 01, 2011 12:00 AM 

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — “Hmmm,” Hollywood actress Michelle Monaghan struggled to form her words when asked how it was like to kiss Hollywood’s current sexiest man Jake Gylenhaal. “They were all, hmmm… it was very fine, it was very good,” she finally said, smiling no end.

“There was one particular take which I think is really funny,” she added. “That scene that you see where we are kissing and they are pulling back and everybody is in a freeze? That was hard because we were both laughing. That scene was amazing because we really had to freeze for over a minute — a minute and a half — we were like…” she stopped mid-sentence and formed a pout on her lips and attempted to show us how she and Jake locked lips for more than a minute, carefully not breathing on to each other’s mouth while fighting the urge to break into laughter and ruin the take.

If Michelle wasn’t married, many of Jake’s female fans would envy her especially if they learn that the director took three takes to perfect that particular scene with the final take taking more than two minutes before the director shouted, “Cut!” “Who kisses like that? Thank God, we both had our eyes closed because I would have been cross-eyed for sure.”

Michelle is Jake’s leading lady in the new Sci-fi thriller Source Code from director Duncan Jones whose debut film Moon dazzled critics when it was released two years ago.

Duncan would interest Filipinos because he likes Filipino food “except that egg” (referring to the famous streetfood delicacy balut). Duncan’s girlfriend is a Filipina and he was so excited to learn that this writer was Filipino. A little anecdote, an embarrassing one, too: We were in the middle of our roundtable interview with him when another journalist kept asking him about his famous father. I had trouble identifying who could be his famous musician father whose name was Jones and when I sensed that he seemed not so thrilled with all the questions relating to his father, I casually asked him, “Would it please you to know that I do not know who your father is?” Duncan erupted in gleeful shriek and, to my relief, welcomed in amusement my apparent pop culture ignorance. He asked me if I have seen Moon and I told him it was on my list. I think we became friends after that because he asked me to send him a clip of this story.

But I digress.

Source Code is an engaging thriller about a young helicopter pilot who was recruited for a top-secret military operation that involves bending the time space continuum and entering into a parallel universe to counter potential terrorist attacks.

Jake portrays Capt. Colter Stevens who is tasked to thwart a second bomb attempt on the city of Chicago by going into the final eight minutes of an ill-fated passenger train before it blows up. His mission is to uncover the bomber’s identity.

For a change, after a series of movies like Prince of Persia and Love and Other Drugs (where he bared his buttocks) where he showed his muscular form, Jake was glad that in this movie he didn’t have to bare his chiseled body, well, except for a crucial scene in the latter part of the movie, which would totally surprise audiences.
“In this movie, I feel like I am baring and changing my soul,” Jake spoke softly when he started describing his character, his green eyes nearly luminous. “The journey of the character in this movie — switching souls and becoming a new one, all in one, that felt good.

“I started reading the first 10 pages of the script and I put it down,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘This is gonna suck, I don’t wanna read it anymore because it’s very good right now and normally it will all fall apart.’ So I put it down and came back to it and it was better and better and better. More intense, more intriguing, completely freaking me out.”

Source Code asks a basic philosophical question on the probability of altering human fate — and that didn’t escape Jake’s notice while studying his character.

Our interview was conducted a week after the terrible tsunami tragedy in Japan and Jake couldn’t help but draw comparison to what his character could have done given the tragic scenario. “If I could be in someone else’s body, for the last eight minutes of theirs, what would I do? That opens up so many opportunities, like, you know, what catastrophes would you stop, even in the wake of what’s happening in Japan?” he pondered. “It’s a fascinating thing to think about.”

A scene from the movie with leading lady Michelle Monaghan
After he studied the part and decided that he liked it, Jake signed on immediately and recommended director Duncan to the producers. He has been a fan of the director after watching the movie Moon.

He also revealed that he read the script “a hundred times” — “As an actor, you have to,” he said — and discovered another element in the story that further attracted him to the story. “I loved the love story,” he added referring to the unusual love story that formed between his character and the character of Michelle. “Everybody has time to fall in love. I think there’s always some time for that.” His character had only eight minutes to accomplish his mission and it was quite interesting how, in those few minutes, love still blossomed.

Our interview with Jake was punctuated by constant reminders from the publicists not to ask questions that delve into the personal life of the actor. Recent tabloid coverage of his romance with Country superstar Taylor Swift has to take the blame for that.

“What I believe about love is that, whether it is with your family or whether it is somebody you’re in a relationship with, partner or whatever, that it is all about being seen. It’s all about someone saying, ‘I see you, I see who you are, I love who you are, I appreciate who you are,’” he remarked.

Source Code premiered to wide acclaim at the recent South by Southwest Film Festival hosted by respected film critic Roger Ebert, and Jake felt elated by the overwhelming positive response the movie received from the festival audience. He shared that he himself couldn’t contain his excitement on seeing himself in the character he developed and nurtured for several months.

“I watched it and I didn’t feel like I was watching myself. I was totally freaked out. I was completely engaged. I was fully in it. I think it was a testament to the movie that I didn’t even ‘see’ myself.”

Released by Pioneer Films, Source Code opens nationwide today.

Before I forget, director Duncan’s dad is music superstar David Bowie. Duncan would be happy to know that I have seen Moon and it was indeed an amazing movie. As amazing as Source Code.

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