Thursday, April 27, 2006

Jake Gyllenhaal In Search Of A Tough Guy

It was a hot Spring day in Los Angeles. The still air for the past three days had left a purple haze that floated above the basin. Jake Gyllenhaal was sitting in a comfortable chair looking at the palms and other desert flora that peppered the view he had from the top floor of 9830 Wilshire Boulevard, the offices of Creative Artists Agency. Kevin Huvane sat behind his polished mahogany desk that was supported by brushed nickel posts. An LCD monitor with keyboard sat to Huvane's left, and a multi-buttoned large office telephone sat to his right. In front of Huvane on the desk was a pile of four scripts. Huvane was watching Jake who seemed to be lost in the haze outside the large floor-to-ceiling window that surrounded Huvane's corner office.

Jake was in tattered jeans with a white lose button-down long-sleeve shirt. Huvane was wearing a non-descript suit without tie, a dark blue shirt with open collar. Huvane was tapping a red Sharpie marker on the desk.

"You have to dig yourself out of this one, Jake," said Huvane.

"So what is there? On your desk?" asked Jake.

"Four very well-written scripts that all have gay themes. One of which is set out West, with horses, no less," said Huvane.

"So put out more requests," said Jake.

"Jake, I have put out more than two dozen requests for scripts. It's getting embarrassing already. The studios see you as a gay cowboy, and they can't seem to get it out of their heads," said Huvane.

"So fuck the studios. Find an independent script. Low budget. I'll work for scale," said Jake.

"May I suggest you consider this one," said Huvane as he picks up the top script from the pile. "It's entitled 'Murder Undone.' A Universal script. Oliver Stone is attached," said Huvane.

"What's it about?" asked Jake.

"I think you should read it," said Huvane.

"Just tell me what it's about," said Jake.

"It's about a man who attempts to undo the murder he committed," said Huvane.

"Undo a murder? How does he do that?" asked Jake.

"It's a mystery suspense thing where this guy, a very tough guy, gets another man to assume the identity of the murder victim thereby," said Huvane.

"Yeah. OK. Then what?" asked Jake.

"Well, it is very psychological and dark. I think it will help undo the perception the studios have of you at the moment," said Huvane.

"You are not giving me the story. What's the story? What's dark and psychological about it?" asked Jake.

"OK, I will just say it. The main character, the role you are being offered, murders his lover?"
"A man, right?" asked Jake cutting off Huvane.

"Yes. A man. So then this character, trolls the bars looking for some lost soul to assume the identity of his former lover. He does this somewhat successfully, but then falls in love with this new guy, and ends up murdering him too. And the cycle starts all over again. Very dark," said Huvane.

"I don't know. Jeez, I did Jarhead for chrissake. I was wearing an Army uniform. Doesn’t that count for anything?” asked Jake.

"Jarhead was not nominated. Jarhead did not have the same level of press. Jarhead is history. Look, Murder Undone takes place in an urban environment, not the West. They will give you any wardrobe option you want, so you can dress casually urban or even like a slob if you want," said Huvane.

"What's he do? For a living?" asked Jake.

"It's not clear from the script, but let me remind you what you do for a living. Act. You act, and they are offering nine million to you to act in this film," said Huvane.

"Nine million," said Jake to himself.

"Nine million," said Huvane.

"Is there a sex scene? Because I am not doing a sex scene," said Jake.

"There is one sex scene, and it is the scene that sold Stone on the script," said Huvane. "But, it is a violent sex scene, not some gentle kissy huggy thing like in Brokeback. It's a tough sex scene. Tough is what you need, and it will be the first step out the door of this little spot you are in," said Huvane.

“How about we make the murder victims women. Same story, just my guy is straight?” asked Jake.

“Went down that road with Universal. Oliver Stone likes the gay theme. It’s Stone’s movie,” said Huvane.

"Can't we keep looking?" asked Jake.

"Jake, listen to me. Universal will pay you nine million dollars to help you evolve your career. Consider it a gift. A big gift. You help Universal, you help Oliver Stone, and you help yourself. Everyone is happy. And I promise you the next film after this one will not have a gay theme," said Huvane.

"I don't mind gay themed movies. I am not some homophobe, Kevin," said Jake.

"Of course you are not," said Huvane.

"But this is my career. I want variety in my work. It is about my work," said Jake.

'Yes. Of course. Here's the script," said Huvane as he offers it to Jake, who takes the script and places it on his lap.

"Find something that Cruise would do. That should be my next move after this one," said Jake.

"You want to be the next Tom Cruise?" asked Huvane.

"You know what I mean. Like Mission Impossible Four. Isn't he getting tired of doing those movies?" asked Jake.

"It all depends on how Three does," said Huvane.

Jake looks down at the script on his lap. "Tough guy. Good. Nine million. Good. I'll read it," said Jake.

"You'll do it," said Huvane, who caught himself and then smiled.

"Thanks, Kevin. Thanks for helping," said Jake.

"Think of it this way. You are taking in nine million. That means you are a tough guy, and that is how Hollywood will see it," said Huvane.

"Money talks," said Jake.

"Money defines," said Huvane.

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