Jake Gyllenhaal has revealed that his 2013 film Prisoners featured a scene he found “impossible” to convincingly pull off.
Gyllenhaal starred in the film as a detective investigating the abduction of two young girls, with Hugh Jackman playing the grieving father of one of the girls.
Gyllenhaal has now said that he struggled to convincingly act in the film’s climactic scene, which saw him find one of the missing girls.
“The way it was written was impossible for me to act,” he said on the Team Deakins podcast. “It made it almost impossible for me to pull off. I would have had too much egg on my face as a performer to try and pull that off.
He continued: “I had just got shot, the girl that I’ve been looking for the whole time is right there, the [kidnapper] that I’ve been looking for the whole time is there. It’s this dramatic thing where I have to keep her at bay with my performance, save the kid, and I also just got shot in the head. It was too many elements as a performer to hold.”
Gyllenhaal then credited director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins with salvaging his performance on the day of filming.
“When I came on set that day, Denis and Roger had already figured out that after I got shot, the camera angle would be on the little girl and focus [on her], with me in the background walking in and coming down,” Gyllenhaal said. “I was saved by my cinematographer and director.”
Prisoners marked the first of two back-to-back films Gyllenhaal made with Villeneuve. The second was the surreal sci-fi thriller Enemy.
Villeneuve’s next film is an adaptation of the beloved sci-fi classic Dune, which features an all-star cast including Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya and Oscar Isaac.