With Jake Gyllenhaal.
Set to play Leonard Bernstein in an upcoming biopic of the virtuoso musician, the actor-producer talks about collaborations, connections and communication.
As an actor, you’re always collaborating with different people—other actors, producers, directors, etc. Describe the perfect collaboration and tell us whether you’ve ever been lucky enough to have experienced it.
I don’t believe in anything that is perfect, but I’ve had amazing collaborations with Denis Villeneuve, Dan Gilroy and with others throughout my career. I think the perfect collaboration is respecting filmmakers and their vision, trying to help service that vision and, at the same time, doing your absolute best job at what you do specifically for them. And if you see something that they may miss, pointing it out and helping them tell the story in the best possible way.
How do you establish a connection with your audience, both on-screen and off?
If you do your work in an authentic way, the connection is established. They’re going to be able to come to something knowing that what you’re bringing is always your effort at being honest every time. We’ve created spectacles based on explosions, big characters and CGI, but ultimately why we keep coming back and why films last is because we’re all looking for honesty from artists. When I’ve seen it from artists, it changes my life. That connection is always there and I always want to go back to see work by people who have done that. If you’re being authentic, you don’t have to worry about the connection because it happens organically.
If you could choose anyone (living or dead) to collaborate with next, who would it be and why, and what project or production do you have in mind?
I would love to collaborate with Leonard Bernstein, if he were alive. He was one of the most prolific, extraordinary American artists that ever lived. His personality and his talent are unmatched. He was a full-hearted, courageous human being, someone whose work I have admired since I was young, and I would love to be able to sit down and speak with him.
Do you think social media is really social or social enough?
JAKE GYLLENHAAL: ESQ:
I wouldn’t know, I’m not on social media. Do you think people today are too vocal or not vocal enough?
Although I play characters that may be extreme, I’m not one for answering things in extremes. It just depends on the situation and what’s happening. People who are educated about a subject, who have experience and have forged years of an understanding about a particular thing should be as vocal as they possibly can. We just need to bring back expertise and rational thought.
Jake Gyllenhaal is the new face of luxury watchmaker Cartier's iconic Santos de Cartier timepiece.