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Criminal - Maggie Gyllenhaal Q&A



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q: What are you looking for in a role or a movie?
A:
I'm looking for movies that are actually about something, that are questioning something, that are provocative in some way. I'm also looking for roles that I think will force me to grow, or learn something about myself, or the world, in order to play them well.
I see things sometimes that are good but that don't feel like a challenge to me personally so often the things I think that excite me are things that feel a little bit beyond my grasp.

Q: What did you learn in Criminal?
A:
It’s funny, I can't put my finger exactly on why I decided to do this movie or what particularly excited me in the way some of the other movies that I've chosen have. I think I was interested in the idea of the classic, girl in the con movie, 1940s type thing. You know, the sort of femme fatale fantasy thing. I like that, the lipstick and the high heels, and the whole thing.
What interested me about this woman is that she's performing that and I don't think she's always performing it well. That was kind of an interesting twist to me, somebody who was trying to be something that she wasn't exactly and doing it for reasons that were emotional.
I think often in con movies, heist movies, it's all about money, and in this movie, I think it's all about money for one person, but for most of the other people in the movie it's about something else and it's emotional. I guess that's what drew me to it.
Also, the idea of lying, which is something that I have a really hard time with in my life. I'm not interested in lying at all. And mainly my resistance to that.

Q: Did see the original version on which Criminal is based?
A:
You know, I didn't see it. At first, I didn't see it intentionally. I should see it now. I didn't see it because I don't think it's helpful really for an actor. Also, somewhere along the line, I just forgot that we were making a re-make, which I think is okay. Not completely fair, because obviously it is based on another movie, and I’m not in any way denying that, but, you know, we tell the same stories over and over again anyway in film and novels, in all sorts of ways.
I don't think it's the narrative, necessarily, that's the most important thing. I think human interactions are the most important thing. So, I just disassociated the fact that it was a re-make. I didn't pay any attention to it.

Q: I seems like both you and [your boyfriend] Peter Sarsgaard choose these kind of projects. We saw him recently in Garden State and he spoke about you. Do you have a similar philosophy of life? Not just about acting, but in general?
A:
I think he's a great actor. He's one of my favorite actors ever, he's really inspiring to me, and I've learned a lot about acting from him. And yeah, he's almost like a muse.

Q: Your brother told me that you two used to be pretty competitive several years ago and now it's resolved?
A:
Well, I think it's less something that had to be resolved than just like any two siblings when they are younger. They feel competitive and fight sometimes, but they also love and support each other. The older we get, just like in most sibling relationships, we feel like that that's a waste of time. We love each other and my brother is one of my best friends.

Q: You're often described as a fearless actress. You lump that in your real life because you were saying that you never lie so you must be pretty brave if you don't lie.
A:
Am I fearless? No. I mean, there are many things that scare me but I can be braver in the characters that I'm playing than I am in my life sometimes. The woman who I just played in this movie, actually all three movies that I just did, there were aspects of these people who I was playing, that were definitely braver than me.

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