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by Nigel M Smith
November 25, 2013 8:55 AM
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Jake Gyllenhaal Explains His Move to the Dark Side and Reason for His 'Prisoners' Twitch at Awards Lunch

Sporting a bandaged left hand following an injury on the set of the upcoming crime thriller "Nightcrawler," Jake Gyllenhaal was all smiles as he charmed guests at Warner Bros.' luncheon in honor of their potential Oscar-contender "Prisoners" last Friday in New York.

The film, which opened back in September, drew great acclaim for the actor, who as of late has been favoring violent character studies over broad studio fare like "Prince of Persia: The Sand of Time" and "Love & Other Drugs." His latest marks another intense turn following "End of Watch" and "Enemy" (also directed by "Prisoners" helmer Denis Villeneuve), which was shot prior to "Prisoners" but opens early next year via A24.

"More and more -- this is going to sound really lofty -- but I really just put it out to the universe," Gyllenhaal told Indiewire of why he's been attracted to darker fare as of late.

Viola Davis, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Terrence Howard in 'Prisoners' Warner Bros.

"Things come to you and I really do believe that they do come to you for a reason. It’s not just the project but it’s the people behind it and who they are. If you get back good reasons for why they want to make it, then it’s always fascinating. That’s kind of what’s driving my choices at this point. What are the reasons they are making these thing? Even more so than the material itself."

In "Prisoners," Gyllenhaal plays a perpetually haunted detective trying his damnedest to locate the whereabouts of two young missing girls. For a film riddled with mysteries that are solved over the course of its two-hour plus running time, "Prisoners" doesn't attempt to explain the reason why Gyllenhaal's Detective Loki is prone to eye twitching when stressed.

"Sometimes I’ll be reading a script and I’ll hold myself in a different way while reading it," Gyllenhaal explained to Indiewire. "I picture a certain thing. Sometimes a director is a huge influence, just the way they move. But the twitch was this idea that... first of all, Loki was asking so many questions. The hardest thing for me as an actor is to ask questions. It always implies some sort out of overload somewhere else; you have to multitask. As a detective, you have to hold the mind of a psycho killer, the mind of a father who just had his father abducted etc.I just had a feeling of what would someone do if they were overloaded."

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12 Comments

  • Princess Hogg | November 27, 2013 12:16 AMReply

    A young Hollywood actor with artistic aspirations? Get out of town! You don't suppose that he goes for darker roles because those are the ones that he gets, do you? I'm sure if the shoe was on the other foot and he was marketable as a romantic comedy leading man, that's what we'd be seeing him in. He better be careful though; Prisoners looks like it's just a step away from an HBO original series and was even marketed like it was one.

  • Petru | November 25, 2013 6:04 PMReply

    J. Gyllenhaal is riding the wave of a career resurgence. He's at his best in"Prisoners", and all of a sudden the haters are frothing at the mouth. Buckle your seatbelts guys, more and more praise for the new, mature Gyllenhaal is coming. It's already happening.

  • wendy | February 8, 2014 5:08 AM

    I couldn't agree more; he is maturing and doing what great actors do best, thinking about their character's flaws and weaknesses; he did an amazing job in this role, adding the tic's and grimaces.

  • James | November 25, 2013 1:51 PMReply

    What kind of a f****ng interview is this? You should've asked him when An Enemy was coming out ffs.

  • Dane | November 25, 2013 1:24 PMReply

    Gyllenhaal is one of the most overrated actors in HW. He acts like he’s some deep artist but real artists don't chase Oscars with the desperation he is displaying. He’s so full of himself, I can’t stand him.

  • Dean | March 3, 2014 12:25 PM

    What are you kidding me. I would say he is underrated. You just can't appreciate talent when you see it. GTFO.

  • Syriana | November 26, 2013 3:49 PM

    Are you kiddin' me? If anything Gyllenhaal is extremely underrated. Some of today's young "it" stars would kill for a CV with Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain, Zodiac, Jarhead, Rendition, End of Watch, Enemy, Prisoners.

  • j | November 25, 2013 10:31 PM

    Thank you .

  • Dorian Bog | November 25, 2013 5:29 PM

    Dane, do you mean:
    Gyllenhaal is one of the most UNDERRATED actors of his generation. He IS a true artist, chasing challenging serious roles. He's also humble and understated.

    Here, there's the correct translation of your nonsense. You're welcome... or not.

  • john | November 25, 2013 1:50 PM

    you're retarded

  • FP | November 25, 2013 12:13 PMReply

    Oh please. He's playing these dark roles because he keeps getting dumped by blonde chicks. That's what hot str8s do when that happens - they act out, only in his case, he's an an actual actor. No LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS for Jakey until he gets engaged to the first wife.

  • Tony | November 25, 2013 2:31 PM

    You are an idiot.