We have awe and reverence for the unknown, says Jake Gyllenhaal
When Jake Gyllenhaal picks up a screenplay, he has his own litmus test that helps convince him of its merits. Quite simply, if he can’t stop turning the pages, he knows it’s a winner. And that is what happened with Life, the actor confesses. Directed by Daniel Espinosa from an original script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool), Gyllenhaal joined a stellar star cast to play an astronaut/doctor, one of a team whose mission is to examine an alien life form (a single cell organism), found on Mars and brought to the international Space Station (ISS), orbiting Earth, for research. “I love where the movie ultimately goes and that’s really the reason why I think it’s a really fun idea,” says Gyllenhaal, adding, “I think we have awe and reverence for the unknown. It also it terrifies us and space is filled with all of those ideas. And really for me, the film is a metaphor for all that — how we approach the unknown, how we deal with it, and interact with it. The truth is, making this movie and being in the midst of this process, was a whole lot of fun.”
Calling Dr Jordan
The actor plays Dr David Jordan, a world-weary doctor who, at first, is intrigued by the discovery — the first proof of extra-terrestrial life — and what it might represent. “The thing about him is that he’s sort of waiting and watching. He’s active, yes, but he’s also a real observer of human behaviour. He has seen and experienced so many tragic things in the world that he has a tendency to sit back and observe,” he explains.
Nightcrawler meets Deadpool
The actor is joined by Ryan Reynolds as mechanic Rory Adams, and Rebecca Ferguson is British scientist Dr Miranda North, a specialist in controlled diseases. Working with the entire cast was clearly a delight and he has become close friends with Ryan Reynolds. “I think he is a true artist and an unconventional one. He’s on a stage that’s very big, a lot of people play on it in a very conventional way. He, on the other hand, has defied convention. I respect him not only as an artist but also as a human being,” he says.
Life is an epic, terrifying thriller set in space that, at its heart, is about mankind’s desire to confront the unknown. “It’s that question ‘how are we here?’ You look outside of yourself and you see the vastness of the universe,” says Gyllenhaal.