Actor Jake Gyllenhaal has earned acclaim over the course of his career for a variety of roles, many of which manage to capture either a physical or emotional explosiveness, resulting in a number of captivating characters. Similarly, filmmaker Antoine Fuqua has delivered audiences multiple gritty and gripping dramas, most of which feature landscapes and environments that are nearly as engaging as any of the living, breathing humans at the heart of such stories. For Netflix's The Guilty, however, both Gyllenhaal and Fuqua had to find new ways to approach the material, given that virtually the entire narrative unfolds with Gyllenhaal sitting in front of his computer. The Guilty hits select theaters on September 24th and Netflix on October 1st.
"[It] was definitely challenging and it was nice to do something where I wasn't shooting someone and blowing somebody up, per se," Fuqua detailed to ComicBook.com. "And just the acting, just to be with the actor, doing what he does, that was fantastic. If it wasn't a pandemic, I would have wanted to do this anyway, if Jake would've brought this to me."
A remake of the 2018 Danish film of the same name, The Guilty takes place over the course of a single morning in a 911 dispatch call center. Call operator Joe Baylor (Gyllenhaal) tries to save a caller in grave danger—but he soon discovers that nothing is as it seems, and facing the truth is the only way out.
"I think mostly the challenge is that I'm a pretty physical actor," Gyllenhaal recalled of the shooting experience. "So I like being in my body and moving around and I was just isolated in a chair, I couldn't really move. But I also think that was a really interesting experience because it added to my attention and a desire and a frustration and there are a lot of feelings that came from that. I always knew it was going to be a movie about listening to other people, that's what acting is. The first thing you learn, the first thing any acting teacher says is that acting's all about listening. But, truthfully, it's really the other actors in this movie that do the acting for me. We're listening to them more than we're listening to me and they're all so incredible in it. So it's really them."
While the narrative largely stays faithful to the original film, Fuqua pointed out the ways in which he wanted to set this new take apart from its predecessor.
"We wanted to make it L.A., we wanted to bring ... some of the issues that are happening in this country. There were things about it, visually, that I thought you could do a little bit more in our film," the director pointed out. "I think [Gustav Möller's] film was great. It was fantastic. I wanted to bring a little more visuals to it, the fires and the feeling of that and all that stuff. The opening shot, the big helicopter of L.A., things like that. But really, I didn't go into it thinking, 'I'm going to put my style on it,' I just went into it. Me and Jake talked about this earlier, I would listen to the movie, read the script, even listen to the movie when we shot it with my eyes closed once we had all the recordings and it was just like what I saw."
The Guilty hits select theaters on September 24th and Netflix on October 1st.
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