Jake Gyllenhaal spent five months riding along with LAPD officers for his role in End of Watch, an experience the actor said has left him changed not only as an actor but as a person.
Gyllenhaal said his training for End of Watch was more intensive than anything he has done in the past and the things he saw while riding along with officers stuck with him, Hit Fix reported.
As Hit Fix notes, his charasmatic and intensive performance in End of Watch is “one of his finest performances to date.” In the movie he plays the partner to Michael Pena, and though the two share an almost brotherly relationship the movie still manages to avoid the cliches of the buddy cop movie. Hit Fix noted that screenwriter and director David Ayer:
“[F]lipped the convention by shockingly letting our heroes remain actual good guys (well, most of the time). He also used hand held video cameras to provide an intimacy to the actor’s performances that gives the film more energy than you’d expect.”
Because the indie movie took only three weeks to shoot, Ayer was able to convince Jake Gyllenhaal to spend five months researching the role. The training turned real very quickly, Gyllenhaal said.
“The first ride I went on I saw someone murdered. It changes your life. You don’t come back from something like that and not see the world a different way,” he noted. “And subsequently, [watching] everything from domestic violence to stolen cars to you name it. And along with the camaraderie and the friendship and the joking and all of that seeing that for real for five months and shooting for 22 days? and seeing it for real? I won’t be the same in many, many good ways.”
He participated in the ride-alongs two or three times a week, from 4 pm to 4 am. Every morning he went to fight training at a dojo and then moved on to weapons and tactical training.
The experience of seeing what real officers have to go through, and the bonds they create with each other, left Gyllenhaal changed.
“All the guys we ran across, all the partners – there were probably five or six different sets of partners in the Sheriff’s Dept. or LAPD that we worked with and yeah, this movie changed my life,” Jake Gyllenhaal said. “I mean, the experience of it. We shot it in 22 days, but we prepared for five months for it. And every step along the way I learned something about myself. And I saw the world in a different way.”
Gyllenhaal told ABC News that he won’t look at police officers the same way again, saying: “When you see a police officer on the street, there’s a stigma, it’s like a Batsuit. Even when you put it on, it feels that way. When you see them, they project a whole lot of things out into the world just wearing that uniform.”
But for Jake Gyllenhaal, the experience “completely transformed my idea of law enforcement, but it also completely transformed my idea of Los Angeles in general.”