Jake on his niece: 'She's the next generation of little Gyllenhooligans'
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By Michelle Lanz
You've all seen the ads for "Prince Of Persia: The Sands of Time." Jake Gyllenhaal's chiseled bod looking intense with a slightly more abundant head of hair framing his ginormous baby blues. He's much more clean-cut in person, but still just as swoon-worthy.
Gentlemanly Jake was able to take some time this week to talk to Wonderwall about getting in shape, his fear of ostriches, what it's like to be an uncle and how he's an OG "Prince Of Persia" fan.
Wonderwall: So what made you want to take on the role of action hero?
Jake Gyllenhaal: I think when I read the script, it made me think of or reminded me of when I first watched "Indiana Jones." I remember watching "Willow" when I was kid. I just stopped and thought, "Hey now. I've never really made a movie when I haven't taken myself so seriously and enjoyed myself and got to play a character and kick some butt," and, you know, light things on fire and run across walls and have a good time doing it. So I just remember the first sequence of the movie that I read, which is the first scene in the movie, this sequence where we climb up the wall and they're shooting arrows in the air and I just remember thinking how fun that seems and I thought, "I want to try my hand at that."
WW: If the mysterious dagger from "Prince Of Persia" were real, what time would you travel back to?
JG: Well, I don't know if I believe in redos. 'Cause I definitely do believe the lessons you learn in life, you are meant to keep them with you. But probably go back to the little kid who was playing the first "Prince Of Persia" video game, little me, when it first came out on the first Mac computer. I would go to him and whisper in his ear, "Guess what? In 20 or some odd years you are going to be acting in the lead of the Jerry Bruckheimer version of this video game. It's kinda like 'Indiana Jones.''' And you know, I'd love to see him go like, "Oh, who are you? Go away you're creepy." No, I'd just love to see him be psyched about that.
WW: So you used to play the video game?
JG: I played the original version. The side-scrolling Mac version of the game. I'm an OG "Prince Of Persia" player.
WW: Did you pick up any parkour skills during filming or did you leave that up to the stunt men?
JG: Yeah, I don't drive a car anymore. In fact, I just jump building to building. Wherever I need to go I just parkour there. It's fantastic in L.A. to jump hill to hill and then building to building. Sometimes you know, for doctor appointments or you know dinner appointments, you just jump there. It's fantastic.
WW: Who do you think would win in battle, your character Prince Dastan or Iron Man?
JG: Oh, wow. You know what? I'm biased in two ways. One, Robert Downey Jr. is a close friend of mine and I think Iron Man is pretty badass. So I would definitely give them an even tie in different ways. So that's my boy there. So I can't really say one way or the other.
WW: You get chased by a herd of ostriches in the film. Any nightmares about them now?
JG: Yeah. I definitely have my ostrich issues. But slowly, as I talk it out with the press, I'm really getting over it. I think I'll slowly friend Alfred Molina's character in the movie, and maybe I'll even give 'em a smooch one day and feel comfortable about it. So I'm really working through it and its going well.
WW: They do have big, beautiful eyes.
JG: They do. There's nothing like a big beautiful pair of eyes.
WW: Summer's coming up, any plans?
JG: Well, I have this little movie coming out called the "Prince Of Persia." I plan to let people know how awesome it is. And that's my summer plan so far.
WW: Do you have another action film in the works at all?
JG: I'd love to do another action film. Like I'd love to do something maybe different, you know, but I would love to be active. It was a lot of fun making this movie. So I would be up to doing something like that again.
WW: Did you have to go on a crazy diet or training schedule to get in shape?
JG: It took awhile actually. It took about six months to get in shape for the movie. Yeah, you know, it's the wonder of eating healthy and exercise that actually gets you in shape. There's nothing particularly special that I had to do except for the stuff that everyone always says. Like a good healthy diet and exercise. And then, you know, when you start working with parkour experts and martial artists and sword fighting, you start to get into pretty intense shape.
WW: What was the most difficult thing about shooting "Prince Of Persia"?
JG: You know, I've gotta say the most difficult part of this film was buckling the swash. Swashbuckling isn't so easy. In order to buckle the swash it takes a pretty proficient swashbuckler. So bucking the swash every day was pretty difficult. That was probably the most difficult. I mean you really gotta buckle, like if you're gonna buckle it, you swashily buck the swash. You gotta own it in order to swash buckle.
WW: How was it filming out in the desert?
JG: We filmed half in Morocco and in London. I think it was, you know -- I grew up in Los Angeles, so it was sorta similar in topography and weather. Morocco is very similar to Los Angeles in that way; to me it wasn't that hot. In fact, the irony of it was our costumes were designed to work in the desert. In that, you know, when you wear more clothes in the desert it helps. It actually helps to cool you down. That's the great irony of desert style. And we were dressed like that. I mean we were hot, but there was nothing to complain about.
WW: The armor you wear in the film has to be heavy and hot in that Moroccan sun.
JG: Not really heavy costumes. I mean there was some, like, armor and stuff that some people had to wear that was probably heavy. I felt bad for the guy who played my brother. And the boots, you know the boots that I wore were specially designed. In fact I hear that the cast of "Sex and the City" were trying to get themselves a pair.
WW: Tell me what it's like being an uncle. Do you spoil your niece, Ramona?
JG: I think it's wonderful being an uncle. I mean, my niece is incredible and she's, like, constantly positive little truth teller. I love her. I adore her. I would do anything for her. So, you know, it's nice to be her uncle, and I try to see her as much as possible. And I go out of my way to do that. Since she‘s the next generation of little Gyllenhooligans. Even though she's a Sarsgaard. But she's half of us, so, you know.
WW: Thanks Jake, and good luck on those summer plans
JG: Well played, Michelle. I hope we play again.
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