Six years ago, I interviewed upstart screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski, soon after selling his debut script to Alcon Entertainment for a cool million dollars. Guzikowski wrote Prisoners on spec while working in the ad industry in New York. His story resonated with me because at the time I was also a screenwriting hopeful working at a rival NYC ad agency. (If he could do it, why couldn’t I?) Despite Alcon’s fast-tracking of the film, it was eventually delayed and didn’t bow in theatres until four years later. In the meantime, Guzikowski saw success with what would become his first feature to hit the big screen, Contraband (2012), starring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale. I still haven’t seen Prisoners, but it’s resting comfortably on my DVR, thanks to HBO, on which it can currently be seen.
Synopsis (courtesy of IMDb):
When Keller Dover’s daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family?
Director: Denis Villeneuve Screenwriter: Aaron Guzikowski Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano Distributor: Warner Bros. Runtime: 153 min.
There were several notable snubs when this year’s Oscar nominations were revealed back in January. Among them was Jake Gyllenhaal, who turned in a career-high performance in the dark, gritty, and disturbing—and, oh so fantastic—Nightcrawler. The long-talented actor took his lumps, but he’s primed to take another shot with Southpaw, directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, 2001) and written by Kurt Sutter (TV’s Sons of Anarchy)
Gyllenhaal stars as Billy Hope, a boxer who struggles to keep his life together following a devastating incident. Based on the official trailer, which was released today, it appears that Gyllenhaal leaves nothing on the mat, delivering a complex and emotional interpretation of his character. And considering his physical transformation and The Weinstein Company as distributor, the film looks to be a contender come Oscar season. Southpaw also stars Rita Ora, Naomie Harris, Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent, and Rachel McAdams (in a long overdue good role, though it doesn’t appear she lasts long in the film). The film will bow on July 31.
On the eve of Jennifer Aniston’s dramatic turn in Cake, I thought it would be worth a trip back to 2002 to her previous against-type role in The Good Girl. Aniston plays a depressed, blue-collar, married woman who engages in an affair with a troubled, younger man (Jake Gyllenhaal). This was the first time I had seen Aniston in a dramatic role, and ever since seeing this I “ached” to see her break from her traditional rom-com inclinations and once again prove her versatility in a meaty indie film. We’ll get that later this month with Cake.
In the meantime, here’s a compilation of the scenes between Aniston and Gyllenhaal in The Good Girl.