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Look out for more coverage of
Jarhead in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Jarhead

THE STARS:
Jake Gyllenhaal • Peter Sarsgaard • Jamie Foxx
DIRECTOR: Sam Mendes

Jake Gyllenhaal as Tony Swofford THE CONCEPT:
Based on the best selling book by Anthony Swofford about his experience during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the movie follows a group of Marines, specifically ‘Swoff’ (Gyllenhaal) as he trains to become a sniper

U.S. RELEASE: November 4 2005, Nationwide
• Rated: R

THE COMMENTS:

SAM MENDES:
“One of the things that attracted me to this movie was the whole idea of training a huge group of men to go to war, and then what happens when you take away the war? What happens to them in that period of waiting which is really the center of the movie? They turn in on themselves, on each other. They create their own wars whether it be a scorpion fight or a game of football with gas masks on. Here was a story about what happens when there is no combat, but you’re trained to kill.”

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
“I went back and forth in my head about do I want to play a real person? I recognized that Bill [Broyles] had written the part of ‘Swoff’ in the script, and it wasn’t Anthony Swofford, and I knew that this was a story about someone in a period of time, it wasn’t specifically about Tony, but it was Tony who had the courage to bring the story out. So I didn’t really want to meet him. I was terrified that I was going to realize that I’m nothing like him.”

JAMIE FOXX (Staff Sgt Sykes):
“I think that it’s great to see the different views of how (war) works. Staff Sergeant Sykes tries to explain to these guys simplicity. ‘This is what you do. If you don’t do this you will get killed.’ Being in the military is a simple life, and it just happens that war breaks out and that complicates it a little bit, but it’s a simple way of thinking that Staff Sergeant Sykes was trying to get across.”

MENDES:
“Jake was a pleasure to work with. Apparently, I made Jake wait four months to hear from me about whether he got the part or not, but it wasn’t deliberate and I wasn’t being cruel. I think one of the things I was worried about with Jake was that we all know him as soft and puppyish and doe-eyed and sensitive and floppy hair and all those things. This was a tough young marine. But he called me and said, ‘Look, I will literally do anything that I need to do to play this part I want it so much.’ And I know it sounds crazy, and I’m probably launching a whole series of midnight phone calls to me when an actor wants to play a role, but it does make a huge difference to a director to know that an actor is willing to go the distance, and that they will push themselves to the limit.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Jarhead site
Images above © Universal Pictures
Feature © 2005 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #663, November 2005 cover

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