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Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway talk semi nudity

Love & Other Drugs
20 December 2010

To our great delight, we found ourselves last month, in an intimate room at the Dorchester Hotel, about to bask in the glory that is Jake Gyllenhaal. Accompanied by the beautiful Anne Hathaway, and the Director Edward Zwick, they discussed getting naked together, preparing for their roles and their favourite things about each other. Love and Other Drugs is the story of a charming hot shot pharmaceutical rep who meets his match with an aloof free spirit Maggie, struggling with a terminal disease. The pair find their purely sexual relationship evolving beyond anything they expected, and discover what it really means to need someone. 


It’s a more imitate story than what we have seen you in before, would you say that you were looking for this?

Edward Zwick: Yes, I think I was. I have always been interested in the relationships in those larger stories anyway but I think it was an opportunity to strip away some of the spectacle and the action and focus only on their performances. It’s also a kind of voice i have been dealing with before in previous television work.

What was the main draw for this film for you?

Anne Hathaway: I really believed Maggie and Jamie’s love on the page and I had such a wonderful time working with Jake on Brokeback Mountain that’s I believe we could get there again, actually I don’t think we loved each other all that much in that film. The more conversations I had with Brad and Marshall the more I believed it was something I had to do and an adventure worth taking.

Jake Gyllenhaal: I just think there comes a time in different peoples lives where they ask themselves, do I have real love, do I want real love, what is real love.. and when I read the script I was at a time in my life where that seemed to be a pressing question. I have always loved films like Jerry Maguire and Jim Brooke’s movies. I feel they are closest to some kind of life that I have led so when I read this, I was so excited. I loved the character at first and then I was crying at the end. It said, sometimes your life doesn’t go the way you expect it to. Usually it doesn’t and if you follow life and not what you think it should be then it will all work out in the end and some how that just moved me to the core, i couldn’t not do it. Also knowing Ed was at the helm was the biggest thing, I have wanted to work with him over and over again. I have always wanted to get naked with Anne again so I thought this was an opportunity to help her.

Anne Hathaway: So you’re saying it was pity?

Jake Gyllenhaal: it was pity. I think I was the 45th actor to be offered the role. As soon as they knew they had to be naked with Anne they just started turning it down. (laughs)

What do you really like about yourself and dislike about yourself?

Jake Gyllenhaal: I think this was a testament to how much we legitimately care about each other. We could easily list, which we’ve been asked to do before, the things that we really like about each other, which is easy because I enjoy thinking about how much I admire her. 

Anne Hathaway: I think the reason you can trust that we like each other is because we can also tell you things that we don’t like about each other. 

Jake Gyllenhaal: Both of us recognise our flaws and things that frustrate us about one another. We are honest with each other about things and Ed is too actually. He was in there with us all the time, even the love scenes, uncomfortably! (laughs)


Jake, where did Jamie Randall really end, and you begin, and did you feel like you were playing a real person? 

Jake Gyllenhaal: There are so many things that are woven in from Jamie, recording him, picking up his up rhythms, his stories, stealing from repetition in his conversation. There is a lot of Jamie in there and that is where I found the character. When I started talking to Jamie I would bring things to Ed, he always does this thing saying ‘really, really’?? it was a thing he always did when telling his stories, he would always grab a waitress or someone and ask them where they were from, he would just talk to everyone and find out their whole life story. Its fictional too, particularly because Anne’s character is not in the book. I had a very tough time getting into the pharmaceutical world. I talked to my doctors and they gave me reps to talk to but it was so hard to get the truth out of them, if they were working during 1996. Often people would sneak stuff to me on say saying, “shh my brothers friend told me to get this pamphlet to you but shh don;t tell anyone that you got it from me.”

In the scene with the actors that have Parkinson’s disease, were they all Parkinson’s or actors?

Anne Hathaway: They were all Parkinson’s, the women support group, she was an actress, i spoke with her before she was cast in the movie and she gave me a lot of insight into the disease as did  all the people I spoke to with early onset Parkinson’s disease, what the side effects of the medicine were, what it was like to be on that kind of schedule, also the anxiety of being sick, and what it was like to have stage one, because it is very much about having good days and bad days. Everyone I spoke to asked me the same question; “Has she (Anne’s character) accepted her diagnosis yet?” Which led me to believe there is a whole world of anxiety before you come to to a place where your Parkinson’s could be described as a gift, but its quite a journey to get to that stage. One of those things that drew me to this character was the articulation of that journey.

What were the issues and constraints of dealing with a big pharmaceutical company like Pfizer, and representing their history and their products?

Edward Zwick: Well, obviously we were making a fictional film and not a documentary, having said that we felt a great licence to tell the truth because so much of it has been documented, it was coincidental that while we were shooting, the United States Justice Department, had its largest fine in corporate history against Pfizer which was $2.3 Billion Dollars, for various repeated offences, many of which we talk about in the film, not surprisingly they paid the money and went on to have their stock price unaffected. Most surprisingly a couple of Phieser reps who went to the conventions at that time, after seeing the film said; “How did you know what we did?” Which we thought had been satire when we did it, but in fact they said; “Oh the dancing girls and the fireworks-that was quite accurate”


How did you feel about semi nudity and would you have done it if you weren’t in such incredible shape?

Anne Hathaway: When it came to how my character would look I did a lot of research into the side effects, that the Parkinson’s medicine has on the human body, such as loosing weight, so that was a jumping off point for how i was going to look in the film, and even if the medicine had caused people to gain weight, I would have gained weight and still done the nudity because it was an essential part of the story and shows the intimacy that Jamie and i could feel together and how the relationship shifts from sex to love 

Jake Gyllenhaal: I honestly believe that Anne would have changer her body however it needed to be changed to further her character, if it had said that Parkinson’s medicine made you gain weight or something happened, like you became iron man or something, I honestly believe Anne would have done that, because that’s the kind of character she is. Me on the other hand-it was purely vanity, and i think its an essential part of the story, and when you’re working with someone like Ed, you know it going to be done well. 



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