Feature by: Jack Foley
JAKE Gyllenhaal may be better known for his eye-catching roles
in independent films, such as Donnie Darko and The Good Girl,
but that doesnt mean he didnt leap at the chance of
appear in a blockbuster like The Day After Tomorrow.
Roland Emmerichs latest disaster epic may have seemed like
an unlikely choice for the rising star, but it actually represented
a major opportunity to indulge a passion.
"I love big movies and I always have," he maintained,
in a recent interview. "I love watching them, and Ive
never been a cineaste, preferring just small, independent films.
"In fact, there wasnt really any hesitation on my
part," he continued. "It was just whether I would have
enough to do whether it would just be a movie about the
weather, or be a movie about human relationships, with a character
you want to watch. I read it and I thought it was awesome."
Gyllenhaal stars as love-struck student, Sam Hall, the estranged
son of Professor Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid), a climatologist who
has been warning his colleagues that the planet is heading for
meltdown caused by global warming.
However, father and son are forced to reconcile their differences
when Sam finds himself trapped in New York on the eve of a new
Ice Age, prompting his father to mount a desperate rescue attempt,
as a nation comes to terms with its own failure to prevent such
a dramatic climate shift.
The film serves as both a timely environmental warning, at a
time when the Ozone layer continues to be damaged, and fuel consumption
grows, as well as an intense family drama, played out against
spectacular scenes of natural disaster.
The film opened in cinemas on May 28 and immediately caused a
storm at the world-wide Box Office, courtesy of its scenes of
tornadoes wreaking havoc on Los Angeles, and a tidal wave devouring
But as much fun as Gyllenhaal had while filming the bigger set-pieces,
he maintains that it was the smaller elements which drew him to
"The problems within the family, with people not paying
attention to each other, are the same thing we do to the environment,
and I thought that was an interesting idea," he maintains.
"I dont think its completely in the film, but
I approached it that way. I thought it was a beautiful metaphor.
Its like, if we could figure out the problems in our family,
we could help the bigger picture."
But while the actor remains steadfast in his opinion that venturing
into the mainstream was the right thing to do, he confesses to
having been advised against it, by one of his illustrious former
co-star, Dustin Hoffman, who appeared in The
"He was saying You dont how many offers youre
going to get. Just wait it out and dont be impatient.
But I said, Dustin, I really want to make this movie.
"I think hes been through movies that havent
been his cup-of-tea hed rather be the storm in the
movie than the storm itself! And I totally respect that. But I
grew up with those movies.
"I go every Summer to all of them. Id be lying if
I said I didnt want to do it. Its a lie to say its
a career-movie, or its a lie to say the character was amazing
I just wanted to be in a movie like that."
As to whether he thinks the movie will do for his career what
Titanic did for Leonardo Di Caprios, however, he becomes
slightly less enthused.
"With a story like that [Titanic], their love story was
the centre of the movie. But with this, the central relationship
is father-and-son, and I dont think theres ever been
a huge public response to a father-son love story, in the way
there would be to a love story. So, no, Im not worried about
Needless to say, the films producer, Mark Gordon, believes
the casting of Gyllenhaal is integral to the films success,
and believes his pairing with Quaid lends the film a strong emotional
core, providing audiences with characters that are genuinely worth
"Hes a wonderful actor," states Gordon, of his
young performer. "We had seen his work in some of the smaller,
independent pictures that hed done, and actually I was over
here [England] and saw him in a play called This
Is Our Youth, which he was fantastic in.
"I called Roland after having seen it and said I love
this guy, and Roland was excited about him, having seen
his work as well, and he was our first choice. As a matter of
fact, all of the actors were. This is one of the things that youre
always supposed to say when youre talking to the press,
but in this case its really true."
Having realised his ambition of appearing in an event movie,
however, the next few projects would appear to find Gyllenhaal
back in more familiar territory.
First up is John Maddens Proof, alongside Sir Anthony Hopkins
and Gwyneth Paltrow, before he appears in Ang Lees eagerly-anticipated
Brokeback Mountain (currently filming) and Neil Jordans
Me and my Monster (which is in pre-production).
And not one to rest on his laurels, he is also dating Spider-Man
star, Kirtsen Dunst, and is lined up to appear in Stephen Hopkins
sea-bound action thriller, Nautica, alongside Heath Ledger.