Jake Gyllenhaal on Backstories and Emotional Baggage: I think regardless of what any of us say, I think weve all had pretty interesting, if not say rough, childhoods. So to me, in terms of changing my life in a way, it made me go like, this struggle to try and present something, this struggle as an actor to go, This is what Im feeling right now. I think you see that in performances a lot. I think Ive done that a lot. In this movie it was like, Im going to show up and what baggage I carry with me Im bringing with me. Im not going to try and create new baggage to somehow play a character. Im showing up every day and this is what I bring with me. That, to me, is why its been really nice the response that Jarheads gotten, as well as tough from people too. Its like, Wow, yeah, it is complicated and it is okay to be complicated. So, no, I had a very interesting childhood in a lot of ways and I brought that with me, and somehow Jack and I parallel somewhere.
Jake Gyllenhaals Next Project Zodiac: Its a movie about the serial killer. The Zodiac was a serial killer in Marin County, Vallejo County, San Francisco area in the late 60s, early 70s. He would send these letters to the San Francisco Chronicle, different newspapers around town. Its a true story about three people on the case, the detective, the journalist and then theres a random cartoonist who becomes obsessed with the case. And after the other two fell off, he kind of picked it up where they left off, and solved the case. But they never really found the Zodiac
Jake Gyllenhaals Role in Zodiac: I play the cartoonist. And they could never really get the guy, so hes still out there supposedly, and [said in a joking manner] I feel very safe making a movie about it.
Gyllenhaals character is Robert Graysmith, the cartoonist who became obsessed with the case. We met many times and hes been to the set. He was just on set the other day, my last day of work, said Gyllenhaal.
Jake Gyllenhaal on the Special Challenge of Playing a Real Person: Its easy now. The challenge I think is its different with every story, and its different with how every director approaches it. Ive considered characters that Ive played that arent necessarily real people to be people that are still living out there, or have lived, who have struggled with the same things.
I think Jack Twist is just as much of a real person as Tony Swofford [from Jarhead]. I approached both in the same way. Theyre aspects of every person, everybodys personality, particularly with something like Jack Twist. I went and I met with a lot of different cowboys and rode horses and learned how to pack mules and do all those things, and that became a big part of that character for me. With Robert Graysmith its a different style, because David Fincher is very much into the reality of what happened. Hes filming the murders exactly inch by the inch, literally how it happened and where the bodies were, and how they moved, and all those things. Its based in a real reality, things that really happened, things they really said. So for me its very important to get the idiosyncrasies of Robert Graysmith.
Jake Gyllenhaal Responds to Jarhead Critics: There were critics and others who said it wasnt appropriate to do a movie about the Gulf War at this point in time. Gyllenhaal said, My response is, to me whats interesting is, I think that people tend to want to politicize so many things. I think that films on their own, just by the nature of what they are, are political. But to need something, to want something, I feel like its interesting Its like Ive noticed people asking Sam [Mendes, the director of Jarhead] for a sense of leadership, to take some side or something. And maybe its because they feel some sort of lack of leadership themselves or something. I dont know what that is.
To me its one Marines experience, the film, and weve had enough perspective I think on the first Gulf War, and it is a very different war. My character in that movie says, Every war is different, every war is the same. And I think its really important to acknowledge that the soldiers that fought in the first war had a very different war from the war thats going on right now. It lasted four days, and the casualties were nowhere near the same. Their experience of warfare is completely different, and it is a different war. I understand that the topography is the same, and the geography is the same, and all of those things, but to me experiencing it and talking with the men who fought in that war, its very special to them. I think it kind of upsets me to know that all wars get blurred into one somehow. Its a very special, intense experience for all of them, and that to me is why I think its such an interesting film, and so different from and yet, at the same time, so the same as - whats going on now.