Jake Gyllenhaal Reflects on a “Prisoners” Scene That was Impossible to Act

The Donnie Darko actor considered the scene to be “impossible” to perform and said that he needed help from director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins to finally be able to do it.

Jake Gyllenhaal appeared on Team Deakins’ podcast and talked about their professional time together which was on the sets of 2005 Sam Mendes’ war drama film “Jarhead” and then again on 2013 Denis Villeneuve film “Prisoners.”

The latter film starred him as Detective Loki who leads the search for Hugh Jackman’s missing daughter. The role remains one of the cherished roles ever done by the actor who in fact have done many fan-favorite roles such as Donnie in the cult film Donnie Darko, Colter Stevens in Source Code, Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain and very recent antagonist Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far from Home.

While talking about ‘Prisoners’, Gyllenhaal looked back on a scene which gave him a very hard time. The scene he spoke of was the climax of the movie in which he finally finds Jackman’s daughter along with the kidnapper he was looking for.

He said the scene was “almost impossible to pull off.”

What was difficult for him in the scene was the fact that there were far too many dramatic elements involved in one single instance. He expounded his dilemma on the podcast and said that there were too many things happening at the same time. His character had just been shot, the girl he was searching the entire time in the film was right there in front of him, and the kidnapper responsible for all of the chaos was also there in the same house looking to finish him off. To act keeping all of that in mind was beyond him.

“There were too many elements as a performer to hold,” He said.

He ultimately had to ask for help from the director and cinematographer.

He expressed his opinion that the director holds a cardinal position in the successful working of the film. However, he agrees that making a great film requires a unified collective approach to everything, but he still feels that the director’s vision is what makes a film great. He added that as an actor, he is always recruited to just enact that vision.

Gyllenhaal realized that Villeneuve had already figured out his dilemma beforehand and had made plans for it. The actor thought he would be the focus of the scene, and there is immense pressure on him, but Villeneuve explained to him that it wasn’t the case. There were other elements to that scene than what had been written on paper.

The day the scene was to be shot, Villeneuve and Deakins explained to him that once Detective Loki finds the girl, the focus of the camera will shift towards her and Detective will be in the background, so that audience’s eyes remain fixed on her and Gyllenhaal’s facial expressions will not be a part of the equation in that particular scene. Gyllenhaal was relieved to know that, and to this day, he is very thankful that it happened that way. Gyllenhaal revealed on the podcast that he feels that there are actors better than him who could have perhaps performed that scene with perfection but as far as he is concerned he was saved by his director and the cinematographer and got an experience for a lifetime nonetheless.

Jake Gyllenhaal has been considered one of the most talented actors of this generation and has proved his virtuosity in films like Donnie Darko, The Day After Tomorrow, Brokeback Mountain ( opposite Heath Ledger), Zodiac, Love & Other Drugs, Enemy, Nightcrawler, Life, etc.

John Martin is a Norton expert and has been working in the technology industry since 2002. As a technical expert, she has written technical blogs, manuals, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as norton.com/setup.

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