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Watch: ‘Nightcrawler’ Star Jake Gyllenhaal Looks Into Eyes of Coyote (Exclusive Video Interview)

Watch: 'Nightcrawler' Star Jake Gyllenhaal Looks Into Eyes of Coyote (Exclusive Video Interview)

In this well-reviewed Los Angeles noir, the actor transforms himself physically into pale, gaunt Lou Bloom, a dangerous sociopathic creep in the vein of Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver.” Chasing after visceral and bloody video footage of fires, car crashes, and murder victims, Gyllenhaal’s nightcrawler is magnetic and charming, a loser who wants to be a winner and doesn’t care what he does to get there.

And Bloom’s sexually-charged dalliance with a desperate-for-ratings TV news director (an excellent Renee Russo) displays the ugly underside of today’s local newscasts. “In a world where important information is no longer important because unimportant information is important,” says Gyllenhaal in our video interview below, “where everything is on an equal footing, we just need more of it. The parent in this movie really becomes us, the audience, asking for more, needing more and so we enable a character like Lou to be justified to do what he does.” 

“Lou is the coyote who looked me in the eye at night,” adds Gyllenhaal, who was raised in LA with his older sister Maggie by his screenwriter mother Naomi Foner (Oscar-nominated for “Running on Empty”) and TV director father Stephen Gyllenhaal (“Rectify”). “You have to root for him…He needed to be lovable…He’s so kind of fun to listen to…There’s an innocence to him.” Is he a sociopath? “That’s debatable. The word sociopath is thrown around as much as the word genius.”

It looks like Open Road will ride top-tier reviews to box office success this weekend. If “Nightcrawler” can be perceived as a breakthrough winner of a movie that is more than a genre exercise, then Gyllenhaal has a shot in a very competitive Best Actor race. He’s respected and liked. He’s been nominated once, as supporting actor for Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain.” 

And the 33-year-old is in demand. Like Matthew McConaughey, for the past few years he’s been letting his own instincts and gut response to material and filmmakers dictate his choices. The results speak for themselves: a mix of studio and indie, from Duncan Jones’ time-travel thriller “Source Code” ($140 worldwide, watch flipcam interview here) to David Ayer’s visceral LA cop two-hander with Michael Peña, “End of Watch,” a sleeper hit ($53 million worldwide) for Open Road.

Gyllenhaal has also invested in two French-Canadian filmmakers, shooting two back-to-back dramas with Denis Villeneuve, one a studio hit (“Prisoners,” $113 million worldwide), the other an arthouse success d’estime (“Enemy”), as well as “Dallas Buyer’s Club” director Jean-Marc Vallée, who is currently shooting “Demolition” in New York for 2015 release.

Still to come: Gyllenhaal’s December Broadway debut in “Constellations,” his second go-round with playwright Nick Payne after off-Broadway’s “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet,” and in 2015, The Weinstein Co.’s “Southpaw,” an intense boxer movie directed by Antoine Fuqua, and Universal/Working Title’s ensemble survival drama “Everest,” directed by Baltasar Kormákur.

Watch our video conversation below. 

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