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Day After Tomorrow, The (2004)

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Old Jul 8, 2006, 06:21 PM   #1
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Day After Tomorrow: Interviews

Jake Gyllenhaal

By Thomas Chau

Jake Gyllenhaal is known for playing intense, dramatic characters in mostly independent movies but this Friday, he’s taking on the fury of mother nature rather than the complex emotions of the human psyche. The “Moonlight Mile” and “Donnie Darko” star appears in Roland Emmerich’s “The Day After Tomorrow,” a sci-fi/action film which tells the story of a family caught in the midst of a massive global climate change. When Sam (Gyllenhaal) is stuck in New York City after a tremendous snow storm, he fights the bitter cold in order to keep his friends and himself alive, all while waiting for his father (Dennis Quaid) to come rescue him from Washington D.C.

Gyllenhaal was in Los Angeles to promote the movie and below is what he had to tell us about his first action movie.

Q: What was the most challenging thing for you about this movie?

JAKE: The most challenging thing for me was making scenes that I think have very little sub-text, [and then] have some reality to them. You have to get so much information in such a short period of time that it’s like making something feel like you’re actually saying it and it’s not some plot device is very, was really hard for me. I mean, yeah I like sitting in a tank with 700 extras going in the bathroom in it, and you know, and then reusing that water to then shoot another scene where you’re drowning in water is disgusting. It’s hard.

Q: In an action film such as this, is it difficult to find the balance between a good script and special effects?

JAKE: You have to be aware of what kind of movie you’re making. And this is a movie that reaches a lot of people who--in a lot of different countries all over the world that don’t all speak English, and who don’t all understand Americanism’s and things, and there need to be things that are simple and can be translated, and because of that, you know—you’re, it’s a help because so many people see it which means it’s important for it to have a message, but it’s also a hurt because, you know, you don’t as an actor, you know, get to play around as much, but it services this type of film really well. And you can’t do it any other way ‘cause people just you like, ‘Oh, what?’ and hit in the face with action.

Q: You and Dennis Quaid have very few scenes together but did you do anything to sort of establish that father-son relationship?

JAKE: Well, I was really gung-ho at the very beginning of the movie, like I was trying to make the relationship really poignant, you know. I remember Dennis kind of sitting me down one day and saying like, “You gotta chill out. It’s an action movie.”

Q: Really?

JAKE: Yeah, he was funny about it, but he was like, “You have to make this work, but like again it has to be in the vain of what it is.” And it was—it’s interesting because we both walk off going like, “Well now we gotta do a movie together.”

Q: Did you and Dennis hang out on the set at all?

JAKE: No we didn’t have that much time really. It was a very, because we worked very sporadically, he would work a week and then I would come in. So, then I would work for two weeks, he’d work, I’d leave, he’d work for two weeks. It was done very sporadically. In fact, Roland said the next time he’s going to do a movie like this where there are so many different storylines going on he really wants to block shoot everybody ‘cause it just makes it really hard to keep performances consistent. Like it would have been great if Dennis and I shot our stuff, all our stuff at the very end that was us together, after we had had our specific things, because the actors that I think did block shoot were easier to cut for Roland.

Q: You’ve done mostly independent movies so how was the transition of going into a big budget action film?

JAKE: Yeah. You should have seen me, I was like “independent.” (Laughs) I was not hitting my mark and being in the moment and doing whatever I needed to do, and they’re like, “There are 800 extras behind you dude. You’ve got to ****ing handle it.” (Laughs) And Roland is like, “And there is an enormous wave that I’m figuring out, so you need to be in the blue screen and not on the other, you know.” So there was that. I was enthusiastic about it but I also think that spirit needs to be in these movies because if that’s not in these movies then they suck. I think you want people to be enthusiastic about their performance in the movie even though people don’t necessarily remember the performances in them. That’s not important to me. I know that people walk out of the movie going, “Oh, that wasn’t stupid, that was actually like scary and fun,” and I believe that because we all have that attitude.

Q: Are you prepared for the stardom that a movie like this might bring you?

JAKE: If it were to happen, I would have a better perspective on it then, but I know what this is about. I knew what I was getting myself into and if I didn’t, well, I shouldn’t be doing it. And if I’m going to complain about it I shouldn’t be doing it either. I know what it’s about, there’s a a part of that masochistic side that likes it and then there’s also part of me that doesn’t like it either at times. And there have been a few times recently where it’s gotten into places where if I leave and go home and I need to take my dog for a walk and then there’s these guys taking pictures of me taking my dog for a walk, it was, for a little while, a time when I could just unwind and now it’s not that same time anymore.

Q: Are you worried that people might think you’re selling out?

JAKE: No. You know, well, whatever. (Laughs) Who cares man? I mean, I’m doing what I want to do and street credit is easily rewarded again. You can find it anywhere; I don’t really, most of the people who like the movies I’ve been in before will really like this movie too.

Q: Is it true they almost got you to star in “Spider-Man 2” when Sony was worried that Tobey Maguire couldn’t do it?

JAKE: It’s kind of stupid to talk about because it’s not my part, and it’s Tobey’s part. It’s his and it always will be, and it came up when there were issues with his back and what was going on with that, and it was really flattering, but I’m really happy that he’s playing the part.

Q: How is the new “Donnie Darko” going to be different?

JAKE: I’m not sure what the next installment, the next version of the “Donny Darko” will be. I know that Richard is re-cutting it from his perspective on the movie and what he thinks it should have been now three years after he finished cutting it. It will be 20 more minutes. I don’t know, I’m really interested to see if it just going to kind of stay this thing that people want to be underground, in the shadows, or if people are really going to want to see it like that. I’m not so sure, I don’t think it really matters to me, I’m just happy because things like that don’t get a second chance that often.
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Old Jul 8, 2006, 06:22 PM   #2
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Location: Planet Earth
Re: Day After Tomorrow: Interviews

Roland Emmerich

By Thomas Chau in New York City

Watching “Independence Day” on opening night when I was 15 years old remains to this day my all-time favorite movie going experience. So it’s no surprise that I was really looking forward to “The Day After Tomorrow.” Unfortunately, it is receiving some outlandish attention from the press for its pro-environment conservation messages, and political jabs at the current presidential administration. But after viewing this movie twice already, I will say this on my own: It still is a fun summer blockbuster film.

The movie is the brainchild of Roland Emmerich, who co-wrote, produced, and directed the film. It’s Emmerich’s first film since 2000’s “The Patriot” starring Mel Gibson, but if that movie is still buried in your brain somewhere, then perhaps you will remember Emmerich’s other two summer spectacles: “Godzilla” and “Independence Day.”

Starring Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal, the movie tells the story of a massive global storm system caused by the melting of the polar caps due to global warming. Quaid plays Doctor Jack Hall, who from Washington D.C., sets out to rescue his son (Gyllenhaal) stuck in a snow-buried New York City.

Emmerich was in New York City to talk about the movie and the attention it's receiving and below is what he had to say.

Q: Did you start working on this movie when you were shooting “Godzilla” in New York?

ROLAND: I worked on it after it. I discovered a book during the filming of “The Patriot” and I tried to acquired the rights and that was really difficult because it was sold to another company. During that time, I started writing the script myself because I didn’t want to involve other people.

Q: A lot of the events which happen in the movie are actually happening in the real world. Was that something you intended to do?

ROLAND: It’s not that they happened over the last two or three years. They’ve actually happened before. They happened more frequently and to a bigger extent. Meteorologists have observed that the last decade is the hardest decade in the past 1500 years. In a way, they’re kind of studying that stuff and know that because the Earth is warming, there is more energy and that energy has to be released. It’s this disaster. The book I read made it clear that every abrupt climate shift is before a lot of severe weather happens. It zig-zags and then all of a sudden, it drops. That’s simply a fact. It was eerie when the Pentagon released its report and we read the papers. It’s amazing because it’s the same scenario in our movie.

Q: Fox is a very conservative company but your film is very pro-environment. Did you have any philosophical or political conflicts with the studio while you were making the movie?

ROLAND: No because we wrote all that stuff before a studio was involved. When we felt the script was right, we went to all the studios. All the studios wanted to have us and we did an auction. They had to decide very, very fast if they wanted to have this thing. They had to approve the script. They had to approve the script and title but I had final cut and budget approval. From that point on, they had no real influence anymore. We did this on purpose because I knew that the movie was quite subversive and has a lot of political things in there that they knew they could not change. They gave us very good notes because of that. They were very careful and respectful. They gave us notes about a non-political nature.

Q: So you asked for complete creative control over your movie?

ROLAND: Totally. I really enjoy that because it goes really harmonically. The production president of Fox, Hutch Parker, is one of my best friends now. We really respect each other and I respect his opinion. He came into the [sound] mixing and said that the music was very downhill for a long time and maybe we would want to break that up. We all said, even the composer said, “My God, he’s right.” It feels like a group of people who love to make movies and work together in a way. But I’m very open to any suggestions. I really constantly try to absorb all the information around me and try to make my decisions.

Q: When you were writing this movie, did you have any worries that a disaster movie taking place in New York City was happening too close to 9-11?

ROLAND: I thought about it very carefully. The first thing I did was I stopped writing. I was halfway finished and I stopped writing for nearly four or five months because I was so shocked with what happened, like everybody. But then, slowly, friends of mine said, “Why don’t you keep writing? It’s a natural disaster, what’s the big deal?” I said that I was very sensitive and that I didn’t want to destroy New York again. Then, they said that you weren’t destroying it and that you simply have to be kind of careful with what you do. Throughout the making of the movie, when we were discussing the script, there were a couple of voices who said, “Shouldn’t we take Chicago?” But then nobody in the world knows Chicago. Then, we realized that disasters always have this unifying, “do good” things. I think September 11th was a crucial point in American history because the whole world was behind America for a short time. The world really was unified. Our movie is about people who save each other and a scientist with a concern to save as many as he can. It had a good feeling about it.

Q: How have you been handling all of the attention the movie is receiving in the press?

ROLAND: It’s strange that a popcorn movie is becoming a political news item on “The Today Show.” I was on several of these news shows lately and it’s quite interesting to watch. You see these people appearing and everybody has warned me about it, like the scientists and the climatologists. But they have a lot of money and power behind them so they get heard very loudly. You also realize that the media is as divided as the country is. It’s very interesting to watch. I think the only reason why Michael Moore won the Cannes Film Festival is that nobody in the world wants to deal with George Bush anymore! But I’m not that political as a person. I’m more interested in subjects.

Q: Your movies tend to feature an all-star cast with many stories intertwining with each other. How did you go about casting for this one?

ROLAND: I’ve always believed that 80% of your directing job is casting the right cast. I really believe that. If you have the wrong cast, you can go home. I’m really proud of this cast because it’s a very balanced cast. It’s the right mix of people who fit really well together. I wouldn’t want to single out any one actor. Yes, Dennis [Quaid] is great. Yes, Jake [Gyllenhaal] is great. Emmy [Rossum] is great. It’s the other characters I’m proud of. Sela Ward, I think, is terrific in the movie. I’ve [also] always wanted to work with Ian Holm. When I write, I start thinking who would be the right person to cast. Every actor I wanted to have, I got. Normally, it’s not like that. But it worked out really, really well. The best so far.

Q: So how does it feel to be a successful Hollywood director?

ROLAND: There’s always this pressure of “Will it live up to the success of ‘Independence Day’?” I sometimes think, “How must Steven Spielberg think?” when you look at his career. But you have to live with that. But I see every movie as a part of my career. Before, I didn’t see it that way but I’m much more conscious about that.

Q: Speaking of the success of “Independence Day,” I remember in the years after the movie, there was some talk about maybe doing a sequel. Is that still a possibility?

ROLAND: With “Independence Day,” we said that if we had the right idea, we will do the sequel. But it has to be the right idea. Then we actually sat down and really talked seriously, Dean [Devlin] and I. We both came to the conclusion that we don’t want to make the sequel. It’s one of these movies where you cannot make a sequel. I think people would love to do a “Titanic” sequel but they can’t luckily. It’s like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” or “E.T.” It feels a little like, “What do you want to tell?” You can only tell the same thing and probably not as good. The other movies, like “Indiana Jones,” is more character centered and you want to have new adventures with that character. But “Independence Day,” what do you want to do?
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