Jake Gyllenhaal witnesses real-life murder while preparing for “End of Watch”
Jake Gyllenhaal wasn’t worried about his safety when he researched his new role as an LAPD officer, even after he witnessed a murder during his first ride-along.
Before the actor shot a single frame for his new film “End of Watch” he spent five months training with real police officers in South Central Los Angeles. In a roundtable interview with CTV.ca during TIFF, Gyllenhaal recalls his deadly first ride-along, and how he developed close relationships with the officers involved.
“The very first ride-along that I went on, someone was murdered right in front of me,” says Gyllenhaal, though he assured us he was never in really real danger. “I don’t think I expected something like that.
“I was at Inglewood PD and there was a shooting. We responded to a call. There was a drug war between some dealer and another guy. A guy was walking down the street and shot a guy who was driving his car out of his driveway. And we were the second car on the scene. It was (drug) and gang related, and we were just responding to a shooting.”
Despite the violence he witnessed, Gyllenhaal wasn’t worried about protection. Director David Ayer had worked with these officers before and knew they would make sure Gyllenhaal, and co-star Michael Pena, were never in any real danger while they did their jobs.
“I did feel safe…I probably was the safest you could be in a way, but at the same time I was at the forefront of the danger,” explains Gyllenhaal. “There were moments in the whole process where I was definitely afraid….but we were always in safe hands. And I was particularly amazed at their professionalism with us and how much they took care of us and also trusted us.
“You’re a responsibility when you’re with two police officers. You’ve got two actors in the back of your car. You’re an added responsibility for two people trying to do their jobs. And I think for Mike and I, we always knew that.”
The purpose of the ride-along was not to get physically involved in the incidents (although Gyllenhaal said the actors received combat and ammunitions training just in case) but more to observe the relationships between the cops that is the central theme of “End of Watch.”
“It was about doing service to (the cops) and what they go though on a daily basis,” says Gyllenhaal. “It was about that internal ride for me and making those relationships.
“And I have made some of the closest friendships that I’ve ever made in my life so far.”
“End of Watch” made it’s debut at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. The film opens in theatres across North America on Friday, September 21.