THE PLAYLIST – I first spot Jake Gyllenhaal in the lobby of the InterContinental Hotel in Toronto wearing a button-down shirt and sunglasses. I am supposed to interview him in 20 minutes about his role in “Nightcrawler,” an enthralling new genre flick about a psychotic freelance cameramen who films crime scenes for local news programs. These freelancers, or nightcrawlers—unscrupulous vampires of the night—listen to police scanners for brutal car crashes and headline-worthy crimes, then speed to the scene and film what they can. The resulting footage gets sold to local outlets for cash. The general rule of thumb: the bloodier the scene, the bigger the payout.
Unfortunately, due to the hectic nature of film festivals, my interview with Gyllenhaal about this role gets pushed back more than an hour, and I am eventually asked if I’d like to conduct the conversation in the car on the way to his next press opportunity. “Absolutely,” I reply. Any time you’re able to interview an actor outside of a sterile hotel room is a win. Plus, the car setting is fitting considering Gyllenhaal spends most of his time in “Nightcrawler” driving. I soon find myself in an elevator with the 32-year-old star and his team, heading downstairs to their SUV in the hotel garage. On our way there, Gyllenhaal strikes up a conversation.
“What’s up dude?”
“Hey, how’s it going, Jake?” I reply.
“Good. How’s your festival been?”
“Pretty good, but hectic.”
We soon get off the elevator and wait for Gyllenhaal’s black SUV to pull up. The car rolls around and Gyllenhaal’s publicists, myself and the actor all pile into the back. The car begins to drive down Front St. I take out my voice recorder, turn on the power, and start the interview. I begin by pointing out the obvious irony of where this conversation is taking place.
“In the backseat of the car, though,” he says. “We are being driven,” as opposed to his character in the film, who does all of the driving.
“And we’re not on the way to a crash site––at least I don’t think we are,” I reply.
“You never know,” Gyllenhaal says, smirking.