Nightcrawler producer and star Jake Gyllenhaal has learned a few things about being in front of the camera by briefly stepping behind the scenes.
When asked what he wishes more producers understood about acting, and vice versa, “my answer to both sides is, don’t take things personally, everyone has an agenda and it’s to be respected,” he said on Saturday morning, during a panel at the inaugural Produced By: New York conference at the Time Warner Center. “Acting is an incredibly immature and selfish profession, but I also believe on the flip side of that coin, it can also produce great empathy. … Understand that it is an extraordinarily sensitive job, and I don’t mean to be self-indulgent, but it’s an odd job. … It’s an odd thing conjuring up feelings in the midst of all this chaos … it’s magic.”
He also recalled how End of Watch co-star Michael Pena withdrew from a midnight set for a moment when lighting logistics were interrupting production, saying, “Feelings are like animals, coaxing a tiger in a jungle, … I need to keep the tiger quiet.”
The first NYC edition of the PGA’s `Produced By’ confab launched this morning with a conversation between former PGA president and producer Hawk Koch and Nightcrawler‘s Jake Gyllenhaal, also in town prepping for his Broadway debut in the Manhattan Theatre Club production of Constellations.
Pointing out that Gyllenhaal already is a certified film star (with an Oscar nomination for Brokeback Mountain behind him all the way up through his “amazing performance” in Nightcrawler) Koch started off by asking him that, with all the problems associated with the job, Why become a producer?
“I think that headaches and heartbreak are part of any job if you put your heart into it,” Gyllenhaal responded. “I grew up with my parents behind the camera and that was the language that I knew. It wasn’t until later that I became an actor. I’ve aways been fascinated with the abrasion between the actors in front and the people behind the camera, and with balancing all the issues between the two.”
Nightcrawler’s Louis Bloom, the oily, robotic, not-quite-all-there Angeleno who will stop at nothing to succeed in the sleazy world of crime scene videography, is a far cry from Jake Gyllenhaal’s mostly warm-hearted characters. But if we’re looking for parallels between the actor his latest character, we can start with work ethic: Gyllenhaal hasn’t slowed down since he started acting in movies in 1991, and Nightcrawler marks the 33-year-old’s 25th movie release.
He began as a pre-teen in City Slickers (1991), came of age in dramas like October Sky (1999) and Donnie Darko (2001), and grew into a leading man in movies like Brokeback Mountain (2005), Jarhead (2005) and Zodiac (2007).
Along the way, Gyllenhaal became a major movie star in the process, landing lead roles in studio tent-poles like The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and The Prince of Persia. (2010) The latter didn’t pan out to be Pirates-esque franchise Disney hoped for, and it may be the best thing that could’ve happened to his career — and to movie lovers. In the years following Persia, Gyllenhaal has gravitated toward interesting, bold, and in largely experimental films like Source Code (2011), End of Watch (2012), Prisoners (2013), Enemy (2014) – and they’ve paid big dividends. His latest, Nightcrawler, might just be his best turn yet.
We took a drive down memory lane with Gyllenhaal in looking back at six of his most notable roles (which you can watch in the video above), including his breakout role in the cult favorite Donnie Darko and the “uncomfortable” but ultimately rewarding work he did alongside Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain.
Vulture has unveiled its Vulture’s Most Valuable Stars list and Jake once again its part of it: