Saturday, March 08, 2014

Linda Darnell, Romantic Addiction, Kyle Chandler

Some individuals suffering romantic rejection were researched recently. According to Journal of Neurophysiology (2010), recovery from a breakup may be akin to recovering from drug addiction: Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers recorded the brain activity of adults who had previously been rejected. Upon viewing photographs of their former partners, several key areas of participants' brains were activated: the ventral tegmental area (involved in feelings of romantic love) which controls motivation and reward; the nucleus accumbens and orbitofrontal/prefrontal cortex, which are associated with craving and addiction (specifically the dopaminergic reward system); the insular cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex associated with physical pain and distress. "Romantic love, under both happy and unhappy circumstances, may be a "natural addiction" said [neuroscientist Lucy] Brown. "Our findings suggest that the pain of romantic rejection may be a necessary part of life that nature built into our anatomy and physiology." Source:

Linda Darnell began to struggle with her drinking. Her marriage to Pev Marley had fallen apart. Tumultuous, ill-advised affairs with domineering womanizers like Mankiewicz and Howard Hughes left her crestfallen and lonely. Bouts of deep depression followed. She was one of the world’s most famous beauties, but her world had begun to shrink. -"Noir’s Hard Luck Ladies: Linda Darnell" by Jake Hinkson

The screenplay credit for "It Happened Tomorrow" (1944) lists both Rene Clair and Dudley Nichols and a notation that it was "based on originals by Lord Dunsany, Hugh Wedlock and Howard Snyder, and ideas of Lewis R. Foster, with additional dialogue by Helene Fraenkel." According to Clair, the acknowledgement of various contributions was due to the fact that "In Hollywood, they are very cautious about story ideas because of the legal entanglements that can ensue if you get caught copying -- or even appearing to have copied. What happened here illustrates that point. In the early forties, Frank Capra had bought a screenplay... from two writers. Before he went any further on the project, he had the legal department research the property. The two scripts had the same device: the possibility of reading tomorrow's newspaper today. Since Capra knew very well that the Dunsany estate could have made trouble for him, he bought the rights from them... Eventually Capra sold the rights to Arnold Pressburger, who asked me to take over the project." (from The Films of Rene Clair by R.C. Dale, Scarecrow Press) Source:

There is a 1944 film named "It Happened Tomorrow" with a synopsis of "Newspaper reporter given otherworldly access to news in advance finds himself in trouble in delightful comic fantasy" and which stars Dick Powell and Linda Darnell. The premise is very similar to that of "Early Edition", and perhaps the creators had it in their subconscious mind. Ironically, in Poland the show [Early Edition] was titled "It Happened Tomorrow."

Kyle Chandler as Gary Hobson in "Early Edition" (1996-2000): "Sometimes that's all a hero is - the guy who's there."

This writer first met [Kyle] Chandler almost 20 years ago while we were both living and working in Los Angeles. He was starring in the ABC series "Homefront," playing an athlete with a heart of gold in post-World War II America.

He later starred in the Broadway play 'Picnic' alongside Ashley Judd, about which he still rolls his eyes whenever it’s mentioned in conversation, as it was panned by critics at the time. Even then Chandler stood apart from the crowd in Hollywood from day one and still does. “Kyle had a great onscreen presence and was equally charming offscreen. Of all the folks in Hollywood that I brushed shoulders with, Kyle had to be one of the nicest and most humble actors that I ever had the pleasure of working with,” recalls Katy Brewer Copley.

“The character is a lot more stable and fearless than myself,” Chandler confides. “That’s one of the reasons I love acting, because I get to be who I’m not. There’s a lot of my life in that role, even though this is the first time I’ve ever played a married character and father in detail. I enjoy playing Eric because he’s such a strong character and he’s got his idea of right and wrong—his moral compass. I enjoy his humanity.” Beyond his good intentions, charitable ways, and family man persona, Chandler’s acceptance of flaws and the gritty part of life makes him real, good people and a real good actor. Source:

-My fantasy is: I get to do over all the things in my life that I regret.

-Favorite performers: Evangelists and politicians.

-The three words that best describe me: I asked my wife to help me with this, and she said she can't come up with anything you can print. Source:

"Homefront" is one of those shows that, quite honestly, was too good for American television, and subsequently suffered a premature, tragic death. Created by Mentor native Bernard Lechowick and his wife, Lynne Marie Latham, Homefront told the story of a collection of families in the fictional town of River Run, Ohio (based loosely on Mentor). While there was just enough Norman Rockwell ambiance and Glenn Miller music in the background to set the mood, its storylines quickly got gritty.

The Ballad of Jeff Metcalf: Jeff Metcalf had been established as a good-hearted lover of sports who dreamily talked about one day playing professional baseball, but his character wasn’t designed to lead the series. The series ends with Jeff and Ginger getting married in an improvised ceremony as the train for Kansas (or maybe Texas) pulls out of the station, both destined for bigger and brighter things in the future. By the time Homefront’s second season began in the fall of 1992, Jeff Metcalf was the heart of the show. Source:

According to Lynn Marie Latham (creator and Executive Producer on "Homefront"): “When Kyle Chandler and Tammy Lauren started working together, we asked them to come into the office and look at Preston Sturges’s films. We asked Kyle to look at Cary Grant and asked Tammy to look at Barbara Stanwyck, and how the timing was in the ’40s. They came back with this incredible comedic timing. I think they’re brilliant actors.” According to Homefront's camera intern Dena Thompson, “Kyle studied Jimmy Stewart’s acting closely and modeled some of his mannerisms after him. Jimmy was Kyle’s favorite actor, and he often imitated him on the set.”

Dena Thompson: “Whereas Jeff was so honorable, Kyle could look at you with such mischief and say things to you that would knock a lot of women off their feet. Tammy had to be pretty strong to resist laughing, or crumbling. I remember one afternoon shooting for [episode #23] ‘Spanish Moss,’ where Kyle and Tammy were sitting on the bed discussing patterns for china or silverware, or something. Kyle was leaning in, giving her this look, while he teasingly said over his shoulder to a crew member, ‘She is a dish, isn’t she?’ He was a terrible flirt!”

When the writers of "Homefront" first brought together Jeff Metcalf (who had fallen in love with his brother's fiancee), and Ginger Szabo (who had been jilted by her GI beau), the pairing was only meant to last a few episodes. But the incredible chemistry between the two actors, Kyle Chandler and Tammy Lauren, was unmistakable from the beginning. Sparks flew every time they shared the screen. They scrapped plans to break up the couple and went full steam ahead with the romance. Though they didn't start off as main characters in the show, Jeff and Ginger nonetheless stole the hearts of nearly every fan, and eventually the story of their tumultuous, tempestuous relationship became the focal point. Fans couldn't get enough of their sexy, funny, charming banter, and even years after the show's cancellation, fans are still in love with this couple. Source:

-"I have met Kyle several times. I was always struck by his soft-spoken graciousness, a Georgia boy still, with those pointed shitkicker boots sticking out several miles. When Pete Berg, who is my cousin and who created the series Friday Night Lights, based upon my book, offered him the role of head coach Eric Taylor, Kyle did not register a heartbeat of excitement. He thought he was too young for it and worried the show would become a small-town Texas version of Beverly Hills, 90210.

I had my own worries: Coaches have been portrayed ad nauseam; originality seemed impossible. But confirming Pete's instinct, Kyle's combination of authentic toughness and authentic compassion hauled you in. His unique performance showed that sensitivity is a form of strength." -Buzz Bissinger (author of Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream)

-You've done some directing of your own, on "Friday Night Lights" [S5, Episode 'Texas Whatever']. Any urge to direct your own film?

-Kyle Chandler: "I don't want to say I'm never going to direct again, but directing's hard work. I worked with [director and acting coach] Milton Katselas and he studied under Elia Kazan. Kazan said there's only one good thing a director needs and I was like, "Wow, what is that?" and the answer is "Everything." I just don't know everything." Source:

Best Beach: "Crescent Beach on Siesta Key, Florida. The sand is like powdered sugar because it's made almost entirely of quartz. It's right on the Gulf of Mexico, and it has a great vibe."

"Right before my father passed away, he gave me a book. I wasn't much of a reader, so I put it away and forgot about it. But 20 years later, we found the book up in my toy chest when my mom was moving out of the house. It was The Three Musketeers, and I'll be damned, I wished I'd read it when I was a kid. It has everything you want to read about as a young man: honor and duty, battle, friendship and mystery, and of course beautiful women in distress." Source:

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Noir Performances: Acting Degree-Zero, 16th Annual Festival of Film Noir

In his Introduction to "More than Night: Film Noir in its Contexts", James Naremore recalls watching noir as an adolescent. Singling out Lizabeth Scott’s “unreal blondeness and husky voice in Dark City” (William Dieterle, 1950). For Marc Vernet, film noir is defined by the familiarity the spectator has with the actors, noting that our attachment is in large part due to the actors and actresses who serve as a “central point of reference,” becoming “a sort of tribe, an extended family all of whose members we know and in the midst of which we are pleased to find ourselves from time to time.”

While one of the least discussed elements, such statements present actors and acting as one of the most memorable, most captivating factors in reading film noir. For Foster Hirsch, the noir actor is significant for what he refers to as his or her “aromatic presence,” for bringing an aroma, a flavor, to the noir landscape that has the ability to both enhance and to taint. Populating the noir universe but rarely taking center stage, the performer is deemed to be supplementary, yet without the noir actor, the noirscape is bland, unscented, and uninteresting. Writing in 1986, Richard de Cordova noted that “the problem of performance in film noir has not been dealt with by anyone in any detail.” More than twenty years later, the topic of acting and performance is still largely absent from noir studies, with only a handful of essays and chapters published on the topic.

The noir actor has been described as “emotionally tight” and “ominously still,” employing an acting style that is “largely beneath-the-surface,” “minimalist, pared down,” and characterized by “immobility and silent invasion.” Hirsch observes the “mask-like faces” of actors commonly associated with noir with their “features frozen not in mid- but pre-expression.” In particular, he describes the “somnambulistic masks” of Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, whom he classifies as “one step up from pure zombie,” referring to their “post-trauma, dead-end style” as “ideally noir.” Hirsch goes on to argue that Ladd and Lake, along with other key noir performers such as Fred McMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, and Humphrey Bogart, emote within a narrow range and thus “remain within noir’s zonal restrictions,” suggesting that constrained performance is part of noir’s generic specificity.

When it has been discussed in any detail, acting in noir has been considered according to contrasts. Hirsch has gone so far as to situate the “acting degree-zero” of the noir actor at one end of a screen performance spectrum with the “spontaneity” of the Method at the opposite end.

Robert Mitchum, for example, has been described by Mitchell Cohen as “the quintessence of catatonic acting,” and by Hirsch as a “noir sleepwalker... the ultimate somnambulist... frozen-faced, frozen-voiced.”

Bogart is widely regarded as the prototypical noir actor and quintessential “tough guy,” yet the stone-faced rigidity displayed in The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep that many critics have considered as typically noir is a long way from his physical and verbal eruptions in In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950), The Desperate Hours (William Wyler, 1955), and The Harder They Fall (Mark Robson, 1956). In these later films, Bogart’s performance moves between vulnerability and psychosis, a clear departure from the confident private dick he portrayed in the two 1940s’ films.

In Pitfall (André De Toth, 1948), for example, John Forbes’s (Dick Powell) angst results from his disillusionment with postwar society and discontentment with the “breadwinner ethic” in 1950s’ America. “You are John Forbes, Average American, backbone of the country,” his wife emphatically states to John’s dismay, portraying his Average American via sleepy, heavy-lidded eyes, a monotone voice, stiff face and lips.

In Crime of Passion (Gerd Oswald, 1957), Barbara Stanwyck’s performance moves from lively and animated to fixed and anxious as a result of her metamorphosis from energized career woman to bored housewife. The institutionalization of film noir as a cultural form, as opposed to modernism, already underwrites the ambivalent location of noir as both inside and outside modernism. Naremore notes, “like film noir, modernism is an idea constructed ex post facto by critics, and it refers to a great many artists of different styles, sexes, nationalities, religious persuasions, and political inclinations.”

This enables Paula Rabinowitz to discover unexpected connections between film noir and previous forms of popular art, for instance the photographs of Esther Bubley, made in the early 1940s, which set the tone for a noir sensitivity by depicting the changing situation of lonely but self-sufficient women in World War II America: “This dangerous autonomy, visualized in the snarl that comes invariably at the moment when the female takes control of the man and the situation, indexes the changing position of women accelerated by the Second World War.” -"A Companion to Film Noir" (2013) by Andrew Spicer and Helen Hanson

In March, the American Cinematheque brings film noir back to the big screen in Los Angeles! Co-presented with the Film Noir Foundation, our 16th annual Noir City festival will present three weeks of jaded gumshoes, femmes fatale and menacing heavies in gloriously gritty black-and-white. These evenings round up the form’s usual suspects as well as rarely screened gems, including the Foundation’s new 35mm restoration of TOO LATE FOR TEARS and new 35mm print of SOUTHSIDE 1-1000! This year’s astounding lineup of films shows the genre’s popularity around the world with evenings devoted to French (TWO MEN IN MANHATTAN, RIFIFI, JENNY LAMOUR), British (IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY, BRIGHTON ROCK) and Italian (OSSESSIONE) noir.

We remember a trio of talented actresses who died in 2013 with noir nights devoted to Joan Fontaine (BORN TO BE BAD, IVY), Eleanor Parker (CAGED, DETECTIVE STORY) and Audrey Totter (TENSION, ALIAS NICK BEAL). We’ve also got tributes to actor Dan Duryea, writer David Goodis and director Hugo Fregonese, and more. Source:

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

James Ellroy's legacy, Kyle Chandler (Homefront, Mulholland Falls, FNL)

World War II is finally over & the boys are coming home (River Run, Ohio). However, the world around them is changing & life will never be the same again. Everything appears to be rosy for Hank Metcalf though, as he is coming home to marry his sweetheart Sarah (who is secretly in love with Jeff, Hank's brother).

Kyle Chandler as Jeff Metcalf and Alexandra Wilson as Sarah Brewer in ABC's "Homefront" (1991–1993)

Charlie Hailey promised to marry is girlfriend Ginger Szabo (Tammy Lauren) when he came home, but instead married Caroline while he was in England. He's convinced that Caroline wants the same things out of life he does, a large family full of kids & a middle class life.

Kelly Rutherford plays bartender/widow Judy Owens. The conniving Caroline never wants to have any children & loves money above all else. In its two season 'Homefront' covered topics such as: racism, the fight to unionize, divorce, the fight for equal rights for African Americans, women trying to break the glass ceiling in the work place, interracial marriage, the Holocaust, prejudice between the social classes, & of course what life was like for the veterans who had made it back to the home front.

-What can you tell us about your new project, the second LA Quartet?

-I’m about to finish the first volume, called Perfidia –my biggest book– which will be published in Britain this fall. The new quartet takes characters both fictional and real, major and minor, from the first quartet and the trilogy, but places them in LA during the Second World War. It’s the month of Pearl Harbor, 6-29 December 1941.

-Will you ever write a TV drama?

-I think Deadwood and Mad Men were intermittently quite wonderful, but often shoddy and veered into incoherence. I saw one or two episodes of The Wire and thought it was bullsh*t. Bad writing. And I have no sympathy for the underclass. I was hired to adapt LA Confidential for TV last summer, but it didn’t sell.

-You sound like you’re thinking about your legacy…

-I want to leave a great literary legacy. I will leave legal documents so no one can ever co-opt my characters or write an Ellroy knock-off book, like when Robert B Parker finished a Raymond Chandler novel. I came of age when being a writer was a big deal. Now everyone’s a writer, due to the internet. Half the people in LA are writing screenplays that’ll never get made. I want to secure my literary legacy despite being more and more flummoxed by cyberspace, the internet and the dissolution of the civil contract. Source:

Nick Nolte, Chazz Palminteri, Kyle Chandler and Treat Williams in 'Mulholland Falls' (1996) directed by Lee Tamahori

-"I had recently become a fan of James Ellroy. And I thought what if we could put some of that Ellroy feel into this story... but it seems like Americans really don't dig that kind of genre anymore. Sort of like the western. I think if you want to do that kind of genre now, it's got to be reinvented as a modern film, with a modern spin on it to attract an audience..." -"Along Came A Filmmaker - New Zealand filmmaker Lee Tamahori for Venice Magazine" (2001) by Alex Simon

Although it supposedly takes place in the 1950s, and although it seems vaguely influenced by James Ellroy’s historical novels about Los Angeles, 'Mulholland Falls' is visually indistinguishable from the world imagined by Towne and Polanski. Like 'Chinatown', it deals with police violence and official corruption (the murder is committed inside the United States Army’s nuclear testing program), but it nevertheless remains sympathetic toward the Los Angeles Police Department— especially toward the “hat squad,” an elite quartet of plainclothesmen who drive around the city in a convertible, beating up gangsters. Aside from administering vigilante justice, the chief function of these four tough guys is to light cigarettes with Zippos and model a peacock collection of suits and accessories. -"More than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts" (2008) by James Naremore

Kyle Chandler thwarts 'Mad' man Jon Hamm (2011): 'Mad Men' star Jon Hamm lost previous Emmy races for being too emotionally reserved, but in 2011 he submitted 'The Suitcase,' in which he weeps, gets drunk, and mourns.

It seemed like it would finally be his year, but 'Friday Night Lights' coach Kyle Chandler staged a come-from-behind victory nobody saw coming. Source:

And out of nowhere came “Friday Night Lights” leading man Kyle Chandler, whose work episode after episode, season after season, established Coach Eric Taylor as the best on-screen dad since Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, to win the thing.

Chandler was so unprepared for the win that he didn’t write a speech (and, as a result, forgot to thank co-star Connie Britton until after his microphone was turned off). Source:

"I’d watch all these old black-and-white films on TV, whether it was John Wayne, Cary Grant, or Clark Gable, and get completely lost in them. My father died when I was 14. Once he passed away, I lost that father figure, but I had those figures on the screen. Most of those old movies are based on the good guy versus the bad guy, so I’d go out there and play the good guy." -Kyle Chandler

-On 'Early Edition' you averted disasters thanks to a prophetic newspaper. If you got the tabloids a day early, which celebrities would you try to prevent from making a fool of themselves?

-Kyle Chandler: God almighty. I don’t check on the tabloids, so I only know of the big ones that are always interrupting my news. Maybe I’d give some marital advice to some of ’em.

Kyle Chandler's Got Game: -"I get to bring so much of my own experience as a husband and a dad — the love and the anger, the conversation and cooperation, the knowing when to take the lead and when to give in — it's all there. But it's still pretend. Oh, man, if in real life I was as cool and suave as Coach Taylor and had all the answers, things would be easier."

-How is being in a marriage like being part of a football team?

Kyle Chandler: -You can't just have one star — it's a team effort. To make it work, you've got to be honest and keep a dialogue going. My wife Kathryn, we trust each other to the nth degree. Hmm, unless she's been lying to me this whole time. Marriage is hard work period. My greatest concern in life is my relationship to my wife and my kids. One way I differ from my character, Coach Taylor, is that I never would have taken this faraway job without my wife’s consent.

-Does it ever get tiresome to play such a good, decent guy? Do you sometimes wish that Eric would just do something totally terrible and bad-guy for once?

-Yes, most definitely. Every actor wants to be everybody — play all the roles. Eric’s not supposed to do any wrong. But I like it when he fouls up and does wrong. And I’ve got plenty, just plenty, of background in that — in real life. Source:

Monday, March 03, 2014

Cate Blanchett, Carol, Kyle Chandler

Cate Blanchett poses in the press room after winning best actress Oscar for her turn in Woody Allen's 'Blue Jasmine' during the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd, 2014 in Hollywood.

Actresses Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara attend the 29th Santa Barbara International Film Festival outstanding performer of the year award on February 1, 2014

Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Sarah Paulson are lesbians —at least in the upcoming film version of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt. Blanchett will play a married woman who falls for a younger female department store staffer, while Paulson plays her ex-lover. Todd Haynes directs Highsmith’s work, which was written during the heyday of lesbian pulp novels but stood out as it didn’t have a tragic ending. The producers have chosen to name the film after the book’s original title, which was Carol. The trio are joined by The Wolf of Wall Street's Kyle Chandler and The Office's Jake Lacy. Source:

"The Price of Salt" (sometimes published under the title Carol) is a romance novel by Patricia Highsmith, written under the pseudonym Claire Morgan. The author – known as a suspense writer following the publication of her previous book, "Strangers on a Train" – became notorious due to the story's lesbian content and happy ending, the latter having been unprecedented in gay fiction. "I have long had a theory that Nabokov knew The Price of Salt and modeled the climactic cross-country car chase in Lolita on Therese and Carol's frenzied bid for freedom," writes Terry Castle in The New Republic about this novel, arguably Patricia Highsmith's finest, first published in 1952. Soon to be a new film, The Price of Salt tells the riveting story of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose salvation arrives one day in the form of Carol Aird, an alluring suburban housewife in the throes of a divorce.

"And they were silent again. Carol drove faster, changing her lane to pass cars, as if they had a destination. Therese set herself to say something, anything at all, by the time they reached the George Washington Bridge. Suddenly it occurred to her that if Carol and her husband were divorcing, Carol had been downtown to see a lawyer today. The district there was full of law offices. And something had gone wrong. Why were they divorcing? Because Harge was having an affair with the woman called Cynthia? Therese was cold. 'Is Harge still in love with you?' Carol looked down at her lap, impatiently, and perhaps she was shocked at her bluntness, Therese thought, but when Carol spoke, her voice was the same as before, 'Even I don't know. In a way, he's the same emotionally as he's always been. It's just that now I can see how he really is. He said I was the first woman he'd ever been in love with. He's never been interested in anyone else, it's true. Maybe he'd be more human if he were. That I could understand and forgive'."

Therese struggles to hide her infatuation even as Carol—teasing, ironic, hard-drinking—flirts with her fairly outrageously. Both Richard-the-dopey-boyfriend (now badgering Therese to marry him) and Harge, Carol's oafish husband, grow suspicious of their intimacy. In the novel's crucial sequence, the two women embark, Thelma-and-Louise-style, on a headlong cross-country car chase pursued by the private detective that Harge has set on their trail. Carol not only fails to commit suicide, she soon recovers her Stanwyckian aplomb and moves into a Manhattan apartment. Therese, learning that some of her set designs have been accepted by a famous theater director, is suddenly confident enough to quit being an IYSYG and finds herself flirting, knowingly enough, with a beautiful movie actress at a Manhattan cocktail party. All the more satisfactory, then, her final realization: the beautiful movie star is a bore, Carol still the One. ("It would be Carol, in a thousand cities, a thousand houses, in foreign lands where they would go together, in heaven and in hell.") When last seen, Therese has just tracked Carol down in the "Elysée bar," and, dizzy with joy, walks resolutely toward her. Source:

Kyle Chandler Tells The Story Of The Army-Navy Game Of 1963: The classic gridiron rivalry was postponed as a nation mourned. But JFK's widow, Jacqueline, wanted the game to go on. President John F. Kennedy was eager to attend the November 30th Army-Navy Game in 1963. The president was assassinated on November 22nd and the game was postponed. Friday Night Lights’ Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor) narrates Sports Illustrated’s moving story of the game the almost didn’t happened. Source:

[Leo] thinks he’s acting cool and clever, but in reality, he’s just boring. It’s no coincidence that the only times the film is the least bit compelling are when DiCaprio is forced to shut up, first by Matthew McConaughey’s hilarious monologue in Act I, and then about two hours later when a dogged FBI agent - superbly played by Kyle Chandler - gets the better of Belfort while confronting the latter on the deck of his 700-foot yacht.

The remaining 165 minutes are filled with scene after scene of Belfort getting high, bedding hookers, fighting with his bimbo second wife, Naomi (an overmatched Margot Robbie, playing exactly the same role Jennifer Lawrence has in “American Hustle,” but to much less effect), and giving dull motivational speeches aimed at keeping the troops pumped up as the feds close in. Source:

Kyle Chandler (Crazy about my baby) video from Kendra on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Jake Gyllenhaal: Man of the World

Jake Gyllenhaal on the cover of "Man of the World", #issue 7, 2014

There's no denying Jake Gyllenhaal is a heartthrob, but meeting the actor in person, it's also clear that the 33-year-old is first and foremost an artist. It's evident in his recent choice of roles, and in the passionate and thoughtful way he speaks about his craft.

Gyllenhaal has always been one to take on challenging roles in provocative fare, dating back to his breakout role as a troubled teen in "Donnie Darko." In the years that followed, the actor worked with a series of notable directors including Sam Mendes ("Jarhead") and David Fincher ("Zodiak"). After experiencing a minor setback with "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," his first bid at a blockbuster franchise, Gyllenhaal returned to the dark character studies he made his name on. His latest, "Enemy," from his "Prisoners" director and good friend Denis Villeneuve, opens March 14 and is currently available to view on DirecTV.

-I love that idea of someone being split. Trying to kind of find their way and commit to in the end... a real relationship with his wife, who is pregnant with their child. You know, that's to me what the movie was about. To me, that was the beautiful hopeful ending, that I thought, "Okay, that's where he's moving towards." Now the irony of it is, and I don't know if this is a spoiler, the end is cyclical because no matter what we commit to in what we decide we want our lives to be, there's always the biological, psychological aspects that will torment us at times. You know, there's always that snake. The snake doesn't go away, you know what I mean? It's always in the corner of the woods, you just need to know where it is, so you don't step on it again. You can walk around it. And I think that's the idea of the movie to me.

-I feel a desperate need to bring that to everything that I do. And I feel that every interaction that I have, be it in the interaction that we're having now, or I go out on the street, whoever I see, whoever I meet, in my life, my friends, the people I love, my family... each on of those things in between each project I do is an accumulation of an experience and I want to put all those things, even if it correlates to the movie I'm doing or not. It's all inside me, it's how I grow. So, I don't want deny that stuff and then go and make a movie. I want to take all that stuff with me and put it into the experience I'm having. And that's a decision I made, I started to realize, "That moves me. Oh, I detest that. Oh..." Whatever it is, and bring it in to the performances. I think you get to a certain age where you start doing that and you're no longer feeling that...

-So I'm seeing more of you in every performance now.

-I think so. I think so... I mean, I've become a lot more obsessed with the specificity of characters and like you said, my work, the choices I make, also being on stage was a really big evolution for me. Getting back on stage last year, I will again next year, to me, being a part of... I don't know... I just feel more alive in what I'm doing.

-I can't explain it in any way, except the relationships I make with the people I make movies with matters to me the most and how we interact. I'm about to go do this movie about Everest with Baltasar Kormakur, directing the movie, and I know the relationship we have there, like, we will explore. I will listen to him and what he needs and then I'll go into unknown territory for him as a result. I don't now what that's about. I don't know what happened. I just know I went like, "Oh, now's the time." There's no other time but now to go do it. I'm going to make a bold choice and if someone doesn't want it they can cut it out. Source: