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Image / Living / Culture

Jake Gyllenhaal just interviewed Lady Gaga and there’s a whole lot to unpack


By Sarah Finnan
27th Jan 2022

@ladygaga

Jake Gyllenhaal just interviewed Lady Gaga and there’s a whole lot to unpack

Part of Variety’s annual “Actors on Actors” series, Gyllenhaal was paired up with Gaga for what can only be described as a very enlightening interview.

Although familiar with each other’s work – how could they not be? – Lady Gaga and Jake Gyllenhaal did not personally know each other prior to this interview. That never proved to be a problem though and the two had an almost instant connection. “Their chemistry pops from the moment they meet at our shoot,” Variety reports, later noting that it isn’t long before Gaga is referring to them as “mommy and daddy” and boasting how much they “love each other”. Mother Monster was in top form, by the sounds of it. 

Sitting down to share their “deepest acting secrets, methods and inspirations”, the duo discussed everything from fame to Hollywood, career, and success. Not to mention why the film Donnie Darko is like a religion for Gaga. 

Here are some of the interview’s most noteworthy takeaways: 

Playing a character is “like living one long song”

Not one to do things by halves, Gaga is one of few actors who decides to go full method when preparing for a role. She lived “years” of her life as Ally in A Star is Born, and did the same again when morphing into the character of Patrizia Reggiani for House of Gucci. 

Learning to compartmentalise one reality from another is no easy feat though and Gaga has said some pretty batsh*t things about how such a process has affected her. At one point, she thought Patrizia had sent a swarm of flies to follow her?! “Large swarms of flies kept following me around, and I truly began to believe that she had sent them. I was ready to let her go,” she said in an interview with W Magazine recently.

Gaga studied animals to become Patrizia Reggiani

Acting has always been an escape for Gaga, who told Gyllenhaal that she was “mercilessly bullied” as a child. “I think I’ve done it my whole career with taking on the artistic persona of whatever music I’m writing and living inside my art. And for films, it’s different, but it’s not.” Going further into detail about some of the things she did to fully become Reggiani, Gaga said animals were a big part of learning to play the character. 

“I studied animals to play her. I studied a house cat for the beginning of the film. And then at the funeral, when she sees Al Pacino’s character, she suddenly turns into a fox because she’s hunting now. And I watched foxes hunt and they’re really funny, because they hunt mice in the snow and they leap up and they burrow. I actually did exercises in my hotel room where I would be the animal. And then for that last scene, it was the panther. It was because the panther moves slowly, but then when it kills its prey, it is really violent and it’s really ugly, and then after, it cries.

“I chose these animals as a way to map the physicality of the character,” she continued. “What I feel in that moment is what she was feeling. The cameras float away. I’m not an actor that really knows where the camera is. But I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s super immersive, as if I’m in the middle of singing a song and the song doesn’t end until I decide it does.” In other words – it’s not over until Gaga sings.

Gaga feels “safe being in pain” 

“I feel safe being in pain. I feel safe in art, I almost think I feel safer with art than I do in life,” Gaga admitted. Stagefright doesn’t really bother her anymore. She can feel everyone’s heart beat when she’s in front of a crowd… and the only thing she’s thinking about is how she wishes the audience could know the pain in her heart, so she could hold space for the pain in theirs. Why? Because she’s “kind of that chick, you know?”

Art has “saved” her in many ways – as it has Gyllenhaal who seemed to reciprocate Gaga’s sentiments. “I’ve chosen a lot of characters through many years to search through things, ideas, feelings. I think expression is life-saving. It breaks my heart that it’s not available to everyone. Ang Lee once said that we pretend in telling stories to get closer to the truth. It’s something that stuck with me and I think about often. I think that’s why we all love watching movies,” he commented.  

Gaga is a Gyllenhaal fangirl

Not even Gaga is exempt to fangirling and as the interview progresses, it becomes very clear that she’s quite the Gyllenhaal fan. First commending him for his work on the movie The Guilty, she later opens up about her Donnie Darko obsession, telling the actor that it’s basically “religion” to her. “I don’t want to lie and tell you I haven’t seen it so many times… In the world of music, but in fashion as well, Donnie Darko, it’s religion. It really is. And if you know your shit, you know Donnie Darko,” she gushed. 

For those unfamiliar with the film, it stars a young Gyllenhaal as a troubled teenager who has visions of a rabbit that tells him the world is going to end in just 28 days. It was considered a bit of a box office flop at the time of its opening back in 2001, but it’s gone on to be somewhat of a cult classic in the 21 years since it was first released.  

They both love cartoons

Going back and forth with names of movies that they love, classics such as The Wizard of Oz, Goodfellas, Searching for Bobby Fischer, and Umbrellas of Cherbourg were mentioned. Conversation soon turned to animated flicks after Gaga added the Disney hit Bambi to the mix, while Gyllenhaal nodded in agreement and chimed in with “Dumbo”, another of his favorites. 

“Cartoons. They have so much heart,” Gaga said solemnly. “And so much pain too. That’s beautiful,” Gyllenhaal concurred. 

The interview is a thoroughly entertaining watch if you have 44 minutes to spare… why no mention of the red scarf though?!