Jake Gyllenhaal:’ I would love to not talk about my personal life’

The workaholic actor is one of the finest of his generation and his new sci-fi fright Life the latest example of his skilful character-building. But perhaps its better not to ask him about Taylor Swift …

Jake Gyllenhaal arrives at todays interrogation carrying his own chair. Specific, the chair he dragged in the different regions of the fancy inn suite so that he could sit in a normal, upright slot, rather than recline on certain designated chaise longue that had been set up for him next to me. The chair is a good ask having Gyllenhaal lie back while I ask about his life story might have made this meeting seem a little bit too much like a rehabilitation session.

Oh, was that the kind of interview you were expecting? he says, with a cheeky broaden of those intense attentions. We can do that. If you dont knowledge me lying down, youll certainly get some interesting stuff.

We laugh, although in an hours day, when things arent quite so amicable, a healers couch might have come in handy. Which is a shame, because theres no reason why this chat with Jake Gyllenhaal should have been anything other than genial. Hes easy enough to talk to, with a delighting dose of oddball intensity lurking beneath his sleepy exterior. And its not as if he needs to be defensive about his job hes one of his generations finest actors, rising to fame while still in his teenages, and taking on personas loaded with inner chao: a distressed, rabbit-hallucinating teen in cult-hit Donnie Darko; Brokeback Mountains yearning, crushed gay sheep-herder Jack Twist; Tony Hastings, a being crucified over his failure to prevent the assault and murder of his wife and daughter in Nocturnal Animals.

Today hes promoting Life, a sci-fi/ horror film in which a six-person gang on the International Space Station discover the first evidence of life outside Earth, simply for their interest with it to get the better of them: clue acts spiralling rapidly out of control. Life follows many tropes of the genre, but with enough neat spins and lessons on human nature to keep it interesting. The screenplay, says Gyllenhaal, left him legitimately frightened, even though he acknowledges his main reason for participate in the percentage was that after playing capacity after role where Ive given a ton of time in preparation, I made a resolution to only enjoy myself making a big, fun movie.

And so he did just that. The chairman, Daniel Espinosa, opened him the freedom of the media to build his own character, Dr David Johnson, and Gyllenhaal opted for a largely speechless introvert with negligible desire to ever return to Earth. Could I relate to that? Yes! he chuckles. But also no. I see I am fully committed to being here.

Despite his attempts to exactly have fun, Gyllenhaal, a renowned workaholic, still couldnt assistance pushing himself. He spoke to astronauts, took counseling from a trauma doctor and worked with a zero-gravity-movement manager, so that his personality would be better reflected in the road he floated through space.

Many of his personas dont actively expect such punishing levels of preparation but Gyllenhaal does it anyway he bulked up for boxing movie Southpaw, with 2,000 sit-ups and six-hour training sessions each day, before starving himself back down to play skinny Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler, a morally bankrupt ambulance-chaser emblematic of all the scummiest particular aspects of tabloid news.

My sister[ the actor Maggie] and I have this argument often, he says. Ive lost load or learned a brand-new science and shes said: You dont have to change your person to play a reputation, and there are seasons where I concur and other periods I dont.

Does he ever get forestalled on established, when hes been doing thousands of sit-ups every day, and other parties arent according his intensity?

He seems frightened by this question. Oh, so you think doing sit-ups are likened with craftsmanship? Is that what youre saying? Well perhaps you dont know what the aircraft of acting is. I represent, putting the time into planning, being agile no, I dont conclude changing your mas physically has anything to do with the spacecraft of acting.

Gyllenhaal in Southpaw. Image: Allstar/ The Weinstein Company

To build his spot he cites upcoming movie Stronger, in which he plays Jeff Bauman who lost both his legs in the Boston marathon bombing, as the movie in which hes pushed himself the more difficult, on a purely psychological rank. Although no matter how far you push yourself, to understand even the concepts of that is almost closely connected to hopeless, he says.

If all this seemed to make Gyllenhaal stand out from his peers, then he believes its a sign of the times. Because it seems to me that anybody feels they can be an actor nowadays, he says.

Really? Yeah. People say: How hard can it be? But the truth is, the creation of a character, the understanding of human behaviour, is a plane and to be learned and wielded and experimented with and detected. My favourite performers are like artists, and when you picture their job, you realise someone who is able to actually physically outline a perfect illustration and then deconstruct it, or not, based on a organization of skill or rule. Whereas I noticed that some people simply hurl some colour up on the wall and call it art.

It is, of course, nice to hear an actor so evidently participated with their work. Yet after speaking past interviews, I do wonder if his desire to deep dive into his proficiencies isnt partly a method to evade talking about, well, anything else. Gyllenhaal is a humanity who remains ferociously patrolled about his private life, to an extent that borders on the odd in one newspaper interrogation he declined to share with the columnist the satisfying of a sandwich he had recently downed: There are some things I remain to myself, that are my business, he showed. Does he consider himself intensely private?

Well, arent you? he says, hurling the issues to back, as if the answer is completely obvious, which is a deflective stunt he often use. But in such cases the answer is: Well , no , not really. In reality, ask me anything, Jake, and I will almost certainly tell you.

He smiles, and says: Well, I have a firm belief that I recruit seat with an open heart and a thinker thats strong enough to protect it. Im not necessarily guarded, but I consider intimacy to be very important and I dont think everyone needs to know about their own families or my personal details. Im old school in that way.

With Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain. Photo: Focus/ Sportsphoto/ Allstar

Which is, of course, fair enough. Gyllenhaal has never been one for disclosing the detailed rules for his past relationships “hes having” dated Kirsten Dunst and Reese Witherspoon, and more recently the prototype Alyssa Miller and has occasionally got a bit narky in interviews when the topics of his childhood advantage has been brought up( he is descended from Swedish nobility and their own families armed with Hollywood alliances ). Im not particularly interested in the tabloid side of his life either, to be honest, but I did find it interesting that one of his former girlfriends, Taylor Swift, is renowned for using past relations as root information in her chants. For someone so intensely private, wasnt it play games with fire a little to start dating her?

Asking this testifies to be a mistake. I envisage when youre in a relationship, you are constantly scrutinised, your best friend are scrutinised, but …

He footpaths off and stares at me, ramping up the intensity of his eyes like hes done in so many roles.

But what? Gyllenhaal only have continued stare. Then he performs an magnified shrug.

So, er, did he listen to any of the many anthems rumoured to be about him? More stillnes. The atmosphere had now become uncomfortably tense. Would he like to move on? I would love to not talking here my own personal life.

I dont think this is, massively. Oh, really? You dont? he asks.

Well, I say, its not levering for insinuate details, is it? Its asking how you responded to occasions that have been put out there in the public domain. But he dissents and we end up engaging in a ludicrous stand-off where anything I say is met same response, repeated through a cold smile: I would love to talk about the movie.

Wanting to avert disaster, I ask about the music of Stephen Sondheim; Gyllenhaal is currently wowing reviewers in a Broadway production of Sondheims Sunday in the Park With George.

Ive sung since I was a kid, he says, and again, as I said in the previous part of our conversation, everything compels undertaking. Everything is craft. Some concepts come quite naturally to some people, but after that, if you want to do it in a professional ball, it requires a lot of work. Ive threw a lot of work into understanding my own expres and how to communicate with it. Im by no means health professionals singer. Im an actor, and why I love Sondheim is because hes a playwright with lyrics and music but everything has intention, and so is absolutely actable on almost every measure.

Were now back on relatively safe sand. Im not sure you can really to know person or persons only by talking about their profession, but dont gues delving into Gyllenhaals family history is possible at this degree either, so we be brought to an end spending our final 10 times on politics.

Gyllenhaal has been rereading David McCulloughs biography of the second largest US president, John Adams, and is unsettling himself by detecting the surprising and terrifying connects in America to the civil war and pre-civil crusade seasons. He makes todays actors have a duty to speak out, especially given that, even today, learning that “the member states national” endowment for the arts are likely to be cut more than in half.

He speaks movingly and insightfully about the ability of the arts explaining how Sunday in the Park With George was funded by an endowment, and that to realize families responses to that expression that Sondheim and James Lapine generated, and to think that knowledge like theirs wont be funded to create happens like that, is beyond heartbreaking. There should be a revolution to make sure we maintain that, because when you take away from expression it becomes very dangerous.

Does he dread America is stealing towards fascism? I think that democracy should not be underestimated, he says, before a agitating final speech about the artists persona in society.

I had the privilege to assemble President Obama, he begins, and he told me: You have a chore as an artist to help people through difficult period, to crystallize stuffs through prowes. He said: Thats your job. And my mothers have always said that, extremely. And Im sure you know it, because you seem like a very smart person who has done their investigate, particularly into tabloid study, which is obviously the most important of all research.

Oh come on, I say, I exclusively requested a few questions!

It was two questions! A hybrid lecture follows about a) kill dictatorship through art and b) really not liking being asked about Taylor Swift 15 hours ago. His press officer meets us to signal that it is time to cover occasions up. I start to realise that I might not be the sole intended audience for this overdid monologue after all. In reality, I seem to have been cast for this recital in the Lou Bloom persona of scummy tabloid newshound.

Art, movies … theyre political whether youre saying something overtly or not, he says. No meditate its dangerous! No think, perhaps, beings are trying to defund it! So, its an incongruity to me when people say: An entertainer or actor should not be political, because its very easy to sideline people and, for instance, ask about past relationships or stuffs that I believe are meant to be private.

So, I will just tell you now that I respect your chassis of investigate, he persists, but also it is within my notion that in what I do, I will utter the most. So I hope, in the future, you will see more of my work. If youve ever even find my work.

I burst out laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of this. Ive asked him about Life and End of Watch and Brokeback Mountain and Nightcrawler and Stronger and Southpaw. Weve talked about preparation for roles and the responsibility that comes with them. Weve delved into the deeper signifies of his sci-fi movie and the importance of ensuring that physicality in a character and even musical theater. In point, weve wasted approximately 95% of this interview talking about craftsmanship compared with about 0.5% asking if he has ever listened to some Taylor Swifts psalms that may or may not have been about him. So, yes, of course Ive checked his labor!

Well, in that case, he closes, maybe youll get an answer there.

And with that hes off, out the door and down the corridor, croak: Its ever the last[ interrogation of the day ], to his press officer.

I hang around for a few moments, half-expecting somebody to pop in and illustrate what just happened. But nothing comes, leaving precisely me and an empty chaise longue that I could do with a neat lie-down on.

Life is released in the UK on 24 March

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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