Jake Gyllenhaal discusses his role in the new Jerry Bruckheimer film
Jake Gyllenhaal has earned a reputation as one of the finest actors of his generation with powerful performances in several dramatic films including Donnie Darko, Zodiac, Rendition and Brokeback Mountain, for which he received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. But now the actor is trying something new by taking on the role of action hero in the new Jerry Bruckheimer produced Disney film Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which is based on the classic video game and opens on May 28th. We recently had a chance to speak with Jake Gyllenhaal about his new film, the character that he plays, the chances of a sequel and working with Sir Ben Kingsley, as well his role in the upcoming sci-fi thriller Source Code. Here is what the actor had to say:
You mentioned recently in the Hollywood Reporter that you would be interested in doing a sequel to "Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Times" if the opportunity presented it's self, has there been any official talk about that yet?
Jake Gyllenhaal: No not at all. I think everybody's just hoping that the audience is going to like this movie and if they respond to it I think we would be more than happy to try our hand at another one. I think at this point we're all just hoping people will like this and go and see this one.
Since they've made several different versions of the game over the years that have taken place in many different exotic locations, where might you like to see the adventures of Dastan go in future films if they were to occur?
Jake Gyllenhaal: Oh man, it really would depend actually. Every one of the stories including the story of "Prince Of Persia" the video game, even though our story is different than that in a lot of ways, are great. There are a lot of things from other games that are incorporated into this movie. So right now I don't think it is anything that any of us are really thinking about but I would love ... you know, I don't know? I'd have to think about that one. I haven't put too much thought into it yet.
Can you talk about the idea that Mike Newell and Jerry Bruckheimer had to base the film in the reality of 16th century Persia rather than focusing on the source material, what was the importance of that for you and how did that help you create and understand your character?
Jake Gyllenhaal: Are we really talking about grounded reality in a huge Jerry Bruckheimer film? No, I'm just kidding. You know what was important to me about the movie was that it be believable. I think the problem with other video game adaptations has been that for one, the stories haven't been strong. Two, I think the only way to make the action seem dangerous and seem like someone's not invincible is to make it dangerous and make it real. So they incorporated Parkour into the movie instead of wires and fake wall runs. We have people that are actually running on walls, like defying gravity for real. When my character jumps across buildings, most of the time, I would say maybe five jumps in the movie are done with wires and the rest are without wires. That's real Parkour and I think that is based in reality in that sense. But the movie is fantastical and features an otherworldly world that isn't necessarily based in reality.
Can you discuss the arc of your character and how what his father told him about "trusting himself to know what is right and what is wrong" affected him and guided him through the course of the film?
Jake Gyllenhaal: Yeah, well I think primarily its about trusting your heart. In the beginning of the movie you see the young character of Dastan trust his heart. As a result he does something good for someone else and there are so many things karmically that are good for him that come out of that. I think throughout the story that's what he does and sometimes he veers off because he has a hard time with figuring it out but every time he goes back to listening to himself, things always turn out for the best. So to me I think that what is so great is that it is this big sort of mythological tale. Myths always paint these big, broad strokes and big ideas but we need to remember those things in our everyday life. I think primarily this movie, the lead character of this movie is saying, if you trust your heart and you trust your self you can't really go wrong.
Sir Ben Kingsley has said publicly that he feels that this story is very much influenced by the work of William Shakespeare and that he even sees the relationship between Dastan and Nizam to be a lot like the relationship between Hamlet and Claudius in "Hamlet." Did you make those connections with this film and were those elements that you were playing with while performing your scenes with Kingsley?
Jake Gyllenhaal: Well I think there are definitely issues that they share. I mean the main issue is betrayal. Being loved deeply by someone, putting your trust in someone and then realizing that they are someone that you never expected. I think of those are in terms of broad strokes. I never really looked at it like that. I guess looking back on it now my take was never Shakespearian. I think Sir Ben, obviously his history is in Shakespeare so as a result that is definitely his go to. For me I looked at it like, the scenes were kind of like reading a children's book. When you read a book to a child you're like, "Then the guy jumped off the thing and THE BAD GUY CAME!" There's kind of theatricality to the way we act in the movie, which I think is in telling a storyline that is very important. I never really, nor do I think it is appropriate for me to presume that I know much about Shakespeare. I'll leave that up to Sir Ben.
Finally, what can you tell us about your upcoming film, "Source Code"? Can you tell us a little about the plot and what it was like collaborating with director Duncan Jones ("Moon")?
Jake Gyllenhaal: The story is really complicated to explain but essentially it deals with different time realities and the issue of one person getting stuck in different time continuums. Ultimately it's kind of like the way The Usual Suspects works, everything kind of comes together in this immaculately perfect way at the end that kind of blows your mind. Working with Duncan was extraordinary. I think he is the next generation of director. He is like an incredible talent and I hope to make many more movies with him because he is amazing. It is true that he is from great artistic stock but he's his own thing and was an incredible collaborator, as well an incredible leader. I can't say enough nice things about him. I feel like I'm totally kissing his ass, which I am but I loved working with him. I think he is going to make a sick, sick movie. I think we've made an incredible film.