The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

They spend their nights like fam­ished coy­otes, hunt­ing fresh meat. “If it bleeds, it leads,” as one character in Nightcrawler says, sum­maris­ing the link be­tween gore and break­ing TV news.

Star­ring Jake Gyl­len­haal, the film’s ti­tle comes from the nick­name given to the kind of free­lance video jour­nal­ists who shoot bloody traf­fic ac­ci­dents to sell to lo­cal TV sta­tions.

The Os­car-nom­i­nated star plays Lou Bloom, a job­less and hun­gry An­ge­leno who turns to noc­tur­nal body-chas­ing across Los An­ge­les to sur­vive.

He lost 10kg for the film, which opens to­day on the Gold Coast.

Gyl­len­haal says he and di­rec­tor Dan Gil­roy “talked a lot about coy­otes ... in Los An­ge­les par­tic­u­larly at night, the wild an­i­mals that come down (from the hills) and are kind of sur­viv­ing, even though the me­trop­o­lis has taken over.”

“He’s a coy­ote. He’s hun­gry,” says the ac­tor, nom­i­nated for an Academy Award for 2005’s Broke­back Moun­tain.

One cut scene had Bloom or­der­ing a cheese­burger to eat in a fast-food restau­rant, then de­cid­ing to take it out be­cause it was 99¢ cheaper.

“This is a guy who doesn’t eat much,” said the 33-year-old blue-eyed ac­tor, who is more used to be­ing on the other side of the pa­parazzi cam­era’s lens.

The thriller, which some­times satirises our voyeuris­tic so­ci­ety, sees Gyl­len­haal’s character slowly trans­form into a psy­chopath risk­ing his own life and oth­ers’ to shoot video with no ap­par­ent em­pa­thy or in­stinct to help those he is film­ing.

“It is sup­posed to be the jour­nal­ist’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to cap­ture the story, to feed the au­di­ence ... no mat­ter what,’’ Gyl­len­haal says.

“And he’s do­ing noth­ing il­le­gal. He didn’t com­mit the mur­ders, he’s in­no­cent. But is he?”

Bloom is pushed to go ever fur­ther in his mor­bid jour­nal­is­tic race by Nina (played by Rene Russo), the TV pro­ducer he is work­ing for, who wants the gori­est pos­si­ble footage.

“Think of our news­cast as a scream­ing woman run­ning down the street with her throat cut,” she tells him at one point in the movie.

Gil­roy, who also wrote the screen­play and is mak­ing his di­rec­to­rial de­but, sees his an­ti­hero as some­one who has been aban­doned and abused when he was younger.

“Lou has no em­pa­thy ... a part of Lou has shut down,” he says.

“I think what he does is less bad than a CEO who takes pen­sion funds from peo­ple and builds a yacht and gets on the cover of Business Week for this, and cel­e­brated for this.

“It’s a bru­tal world we live in and Lou sees it as it is.’’

Nightcrawler opens to­day.

Jake Gyl­len­haal in a scene from Nightcrawler, which opens lo­cally to­day.

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