Cinco and Ken's Way to Put Off Actually Writing

Monday, April 03, 2006

Celebrities we've hung out with: Jake Gyllenhaal

Cinco here with the first entry of a new weekly series in which Ken and I share stories about the celebrities with which we've rubbed elbows during our adventures in Hollywood. I'm going first, so I get Jake.

We first met future-cover-of-Entertainment-Weekly-gracing Jake Gyllenhaal at a table read for Bubble Boy. The reading went really well, but there was one problem: Jake read the Bubble Boy's lines as if he were mentally retarded. We all tried to disabuse him of this, and for the most part it worked, but there are still vestiges of it in his performance. A performance, which, by the way, made the movie.

We were on the set every day during the shoot, and got to know Jake well. It was easy--he wasn't a star yet! Nobody even knew who he was! We'd tell people the star of our movie was Jake Gyllenhaal and get blank stares. He was "that kid from October Sky."

Anyway, here are my impressions of Jake. He is a very serious, sensitive young man. Just look at that picture. He took the role seriously, he took life seriously. He was college-age and thought deep thoughts. This is not to say he had no sense of humor. He did. But there was a thoughtful quiet to him. Again I refer you to the picture.

And he didn't like dialogue. Maybe it was just our dialogue, but he really didn't want to say many of the lines. Felt he could say what he needed to with his eyes. And let's face it--those puppy dog eyes of his speak volumes. So the Bubble Boy became a boy of few words. The pivotal line of the movie--"I'd rather spend one minute holding you than a lifetime knowing I never could"? He hated it. That's why when he says it in the movie it comes out like one word.

By the way, in articles about Jake now there is no mention of Bubble Boy. It may be a condition set by his publicist.

Anyway, I saw Jake recently at a screening. He was the biggest star there. He smiled and asked what Ken and I were up to, was as sweet as always. He was a couple of weeks away from being nominated for an Oscar for that cowboy movie. You know the one where he says that line, "I wish I knew how to quit you"? Clearly and distinctly? Carefully enunciating each word?

It's no "I'd rather spend one minute holding you than a lifetime knowing I never could." But it seems to have caught on somehow.

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