A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to interview all the main cast of the new Disney / Jerry Bruckheimer movie, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. We also got to interview Mike Newell, the Director and Jordan Mechner who invented the original computer game back in 1989 on the Apple 2 computer.

I’ve already put up the interviews with the Prince of Persia creator, Jordan Mechner, director Mike Newell and the legend that is Sir Ben Kingsley and leading lady, Gemma Arterton and we have the last, but by no means least, interview with Prince Dastan himself, Jake Gyllenhaal.

Jake was a pleasure to interview. He was smart, witty and very proud of what he’s accomplished with both this movie and his previous work. I’ve also placed below a video interview with Jake given by our friends at Upbeat. I’ve also put a rather amusing outtake below too which i think you’ll like!

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is released in UK cinemas this Friday, 21st May and you can check out my review here.

It’s such a huge production, we’re you the indie guy?

I guess so, I think I’ve made tonnes of different films but this is definitely the biggest.

How did you feel when you first saw the set?

When you’d drive up to set, and even at Pinewood, there would be 500 cars when you pass. In Morocco, everyone who was there was an international crew and only the drivers were native. There would be thousands of cars as you pass up to like a sporting event. So every morning it was like an adrenaline rush.

It would take me 40 minutes to get into my costume like I was suiting up to a game and these sets were insane. It was mind-blowing to see the detail. You could shoot in any corner of the set. Two units were shooting to about 100 feet up and the rest would be CGI.

Are you hooked on it now?

I do really like it. I’ve just done two more movie that were considerably smaller in size since this one and it was a really wonderful thing to doing after such a big movie like this one. I think I did need to feed a different aspect and use different muscles and my skill set! Once you’re doing this and jumping off thing and fighting people and looking like a bad-ass it’s hard to not want to do it again!

Did you play the video game before taking the part?

Yeah, it was a very difficult training process and research process, I had to exercise and play video games (laughs!). I cannot say I’m a card carrying gamer but I do love playing video games. As a kid I played the side scrolling version of the game on the first Mac computer, took a 20 year hiatus and then got the script and I thought ‘Wow’. The primary research material was a computer game so I got the game and started playing it as research as I would if I were meeting marines to play a marine; I approach it with the same intensity and focus. I looked at the storyline of the game and look at the script. And Jerry (Bruckheimer) emphasised this, in order to do a good adaptation of a game, you have to have the courage to veer away from it, you have to know the video game really well.

When you finished shooting did you stop the exercise?

I’m always athletic, I always exercise, it’s something I believe to be…. I want to be around for a long time. I run long distances and I bike long time so I didn’t do as much of the parkour training, sword fighting, the riding of horses, it’s not really popular in Los Angeles!

Where do you influences come from?

Somebody like Paul Newman who did wonderful things for the human race.

Was he your Godfather?

He was not my Godfather, it’s a rumour, and my poor dad gets annoyed because people say ‘Paul Newman taught you to drive’, and my dad’s like ‘oh, all those wasted hours!’

And Jamie Lee Curtis is your Godmother?

She’s my celebrity Godmother yes. And I would give her the honorary Godmother position because I am incredibly close to Jamie.

So what was your relationship with Paul Newman?

He worked with my mother and he was writing a script and he sort of fell for my mum cos she’s so talented, so cool and he just fell for my family. He was very engaging, and caring and cared about many people and was always interested in when someone was struggling. He was just amazing. As I started to act more, he would advise. If he saw something he’d call me up.

If you talk to different actors he had relationships with he was open enough to ask advice. To be someone like him was, I think, you have the responsibility to answer questions to help the younger generation to answer the questions that they have. Any great actor who’s of an older generation, I ask them questions all the time. It was no different with Paul. It was like that with Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon. That’s the amazing thing about what I’ve done with my life so far, I can call Dustin up and say ‘what about this and that?’.

You grew up in a family in the film industry. Have you ever thought you’d be anything but an actor?

I consider this the start, the beginning of one of the things I would like to try. It’s not the be-all and end-all but there are other things I would like venture into films in other forms. I grew up watching actors, not being an actor.

Would you like to direct?

I would, I’m almost 30 and I think it’s becoming less presumptuous of me to think I could. I would like to write and direct.

Do you have any ideas on things to write / direct?

Some…. things…..?! (laughs and reveals nothing!)

Do you find being in the spotlight a bad thing?

I don’t find it a bad thing. I’m no fool, I know what these movies are. My intention with this movie, that if young boys and girls like Prince Dastan, that to me is the goal of this movie. Making this movie was about going back to the 8 year old who played the first version of the game, and who loved Indiana Jones, and The Goonies and E.T. and to this day, when I see those movies, I got back to being that boy. I’ve made this movie for that part of myself and for all those kids. For me that is a whole new audience for me.

Did you get hurt at all filming?

I did a few times. Some cuts and bruises but it’s all…. so funny…. and sick too! You kinda wanna get hurt like sometimes I want to get cut and bleed and I’d go ‘hey guys’ come and see my cuts to the stunt guys! But there’d be three of four guys who looked like me. I remember jumping over one unit and tap a guy on the shoulder and there were three main guys, Ben Cooke and who did acrobatics and jumps, most of the fighting stuff I did myself. But the big, big jumps I couldn’t be there, different things, I would do. And I’d be like Ben, second unit, Mark, go to the big jump and we are all the character of Dastan. It’s taken the lifetime skills of six people, primarily to make the character of Dastan – I mean a parkour expert, a horse riding expert, a sword fighting expert to make the character. And I get to look like I have all these skills but the character of Dastan is four guys and I just happen to be one of them.


Prince of Persia is released in the UK May 21st (TODAY!). You can see interviews with all the cast on HeyUGuys so stay tuned or check out all our Prince of Persia Coverage here.

Check out our interview with Jake below conducted by Simon from Upbeat. I think you’ll find the outtake (the second video) rather amusing.

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