Jake Gyllenhaal: 'People are confused by me'
Jake Gyllenhaal stars with Amy Adams in director Tom Ford's new thriller, Nocturnal Animals
Jake Gyllenhaal takes on dual roles in Nocturnal Animals, a film based on Austin Wright's 1993 novel Tony And Susan.
In the thriller, now showing in cinemas, Gyllenhaal first plays an abandoned husband who comes back from the past in search of revenge on his ex-wife Susan (Amy Adams).
Directed by American fashion designer-turned-director Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals was the winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2016 Venice International Film Festival.
The thriller that explores the thin line between love and cruelty, and revenge and redemption, has also garnered much buzz for the upcoming awards season.
Here, Gyllenhaal, 35, tells The New Paper what it is like working with Adams, Ford's aesthetics and why he agreed to star in the movie.
What interested you about this role?
I think it's a movie about love.
It is this internal journey, a metaphor of what happens in heartbreak - to have something torn from you... something that was full of meaning and gave your life so much hope, and then have it be taken from you. That is why I wanted to do the movie, the metaphor of that idea.
Also, I have played a lot of characters that were driven and strong, and this character wasn't those things.
Maybe there was something closer to my personality, my own vulnerability and my own sensitivity, which I didn't necessarily want to look at and that I sometimes run away from.
Tell us about working with Tom Ford.
What makes him so interesting is that he is constantly struggling with this idea that the movie struggles with - this idea of aesthetic versus honesty and is there honesty in aesthetic? It just makes him vulnerable to you.
I think he's a very reserved, very proper, very mannered man. But when you are alone with him one on one, there's a very deep connection.
And I think that is what makes him a great director.
You want someone who can hold a fort and keep it structured and together, but then when they are with you, can sort of undo and really connect.
And that is what he does.
How was it to work with Amy?
I am sad that we didn't have more time to work together on more scenes because she is one of my favourite actors.
I have always wanted to work with Amy. I was like, she really wants to be in a movie with me?
Obviously, this movie was offered to Amy first and then it was offered to me, but even then I thought, she's not going to say no to me? (Laughs.)
Your character goes through so many painful emotions. How do you access them for your acting?
Generally, judgment and anger are pretty much easy and quick to find because they are very childish feelings that happen every day. That is sometimes my first default, a bad default.
But in terms of the feeling of losing a family, the feeling of not having been able to fight for the thing that you love, the thing that gives you joy and to have that taken away from you, the idea of love being stripped from you, I could just ask myself those questions and those feelings very easily came.
It wasn't a long shoot, but it became exhausting and then the character was exhausted.
More and more, I just try and listen to the people I am in the scenes with, and if you do that, I think you are generally okay.
Growing up, did you ever feel like you didn't fit in?
I have always had really, really bad eyesight. I am legally blind basically without my contact lenses or glasses.
I always wore these really big glasses, which gave way to really big weird eyes, and that has been very fortuitous in this business.
I always remember feeling almost physically separate, because I couldn't see well.
But I was always creative and I think you can see that in the way I talk.
I sort of wander and meander... and I think people generally are confused by me.