Actor Jake Gyllenhaal on why he took on an unconventional role in Demolition and why he relates to it.
WHILE Demolition is all set to release today, actor Jake Gyllenhaal is busy shooting for his next film, Stronger, in Boston. The 35-year-old recently admitted on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that he was written off by none other than director Peter Jackson (of The Lord of the Rings fame) while auditioning for a role in his film. It’s hard to believe, considering the Oscar-nominated star has consistently churned out winners, like last year’s Nightcrawler. In his latest, the much-awaited Demolition directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, he plays Davis Mitchell, a man grieving for the loss of his wife. He talks about his character and how it feels to destroy a house.
What made you take up Demolition?
It’s a story about a guy who starts in a conventional way and ends up on an unconventional journey. He feels what he feels and is oblivious to how society tells him to feel. That’s uncomfortable as an actor. It’s not what you’ve been told grief is supposed to be.
In one scene, your character tells a teenager that he should stay in the closet until after high school. What do you think about the advice?
I personally love that scene. There’s not much sensitivity from my character in the majority of the movie — it sort of begins to open up when he meets Judah’s character. But in terms of that scene, what I love about it is that there is no judgment in the conversation.
How was it filming the scene where you break down a house?
Jean-Marc (Vallee) built half of a house and gave us the tools to basically destroy it. He kicked off the demolition, to relieve his own stress, and looked forward to breaking some windows himself. It was so much fun! Everybody became the 12-year-old versions of themselves. It was a great bonding experience on set, literally ‘every boy’s dream’.
Davis is a tough role to play. What kind of feelings did you have during the shoot?
The role was about bottling feelings as opposed to expressing them, which was hard. When I think about how I behaved for the scenes, it brings about feelings I was never familiar with.
Tell us more about Davis. Is he similar to Jake?
I have walked through life not knowing how I feel. A lot of days I was lost trying to figure out what I felt. I grew up acting that way in my 20s, I tried to follow conventions; but as I got older I realised I should follow what I believe in. That’s brought me joy and my own type of success. I love the sense of being that odd guy; I think that’s how Davis feels, too.
Demolition releases today.
— Team Indulge