*Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway are back together again onscreen. This time they star in the dichotomous film “Love & Other Drugs” – a comedy with serous overtones. Also a love story, the movie makes a statement about commitment.
The Film Strip asked Jake and Anne if the reel actually reflected real life and unconditional love?
“I think what’s beautiful about it [the movie] is that there are people who, you know, have full lives and don’t live long,” Gyllenhaal responded, “and then there are people who live long and don’t have full lives. I think what’s important is to live a full life no matter what and that’s what these two people decide to do in this film and I think that’s what life should be about.”
“I swear I’m not copying him,” Hathaway echoed, “but your question is whether this is an accurate portrayal of love. I saw the final cut of the film with an audience two nights ago now and I’m so proud of the fact that I believe in their love story. Whether or not it says it’s the definitive exploration of unconditional love, I don’t know. I don’t know enough about the world and I don’t know enough about film. However, I do know that it is very hard to believe in onscreen love and I’m very proud that I could believe in ours.”
The two were asked about their research and preparation for this film. “The movie is very loosely based on a book written by Jamie Randall and I had long interviews and time with hin for months before the movie started,” Gyllenhall recalled. “We talked a lot about the pharmaceutical world and his experience in it and sort of outside the book. It was hard to get inside of the world of pharmaceutical sales. I would go online and look stuff up and only found rare youtube videos of girls in bikinis on Ferraris saying like, ‘Become a pharmaceutical sales rep and then it was a weird pop when I wrote sales pitch, pharmaceutical sales.
“Then I started asking my own doctors and my grandfather, who happens to be a doctor. So I just started meeting people and not all people were from Pfizer because it was really hard to get inside of Pfizer. Then Ed [Zwick], before we started shooting, found weirdly this diamond in the rough, which was on the Pfizer web site. They have the description of every single one of their drugs and side effects, reactions, anything you need, the chemical make up and I would highlight things and then I would memorize them. Ed then would have me spew them out randomly in between takes to people who were cast as doctors.”
Hathaway, a Parkinson’s disease patient in the movie, relayed her intense preparation. “I got a lot of help from Ed [Zwick] getting started with the research early on of Parkinson’s disease. Ed turned me on to the American Parkinson’s Association and they were instrumental in putting me in touch with a few people who had been diagnosed around the age that my character had been diagnosed. One of those women is actually in the film. Lucy, the woman at the Parkinson’s convention with the dark hair who’s incredibly funny, was one of the key people who I talked to. She actually had a big influence on the film.
“Then another woman, Maureen, had a big impact. Maureen actually was very generous and took me to a few support groups and I was a little nervous because I’d gone to support groups for ‘Rachel Getting Married’ but this one just felt a bit different. I talked openly about the fact like many people I’ve had experiences with addiction in my life but I’ve never known anyone who had Parkinson’s disease. So I was really coming at it from total ignorance, and I was anticipating a bit of resistance from people in the support groups but I was met with absolute openness and warmth. People were excited because Parkinson’s is a very, very insidious disease but it doesn’t get a lot of attention. Everyone sitting there was saying thank God for Michael J. Fox because I don’t think that anyone would know anything without his advocacy. They shared their stories, fears, anxieties and they shared their triumphs. I also spoke with neurologists.”
On a less serious note, Hathaway and Gyllenhaal were asked about all the nudity in the film and if it was incorporated to try and sell seats? “Well, I’ve had a chip on my shoulder since ‘The Princess Diaries’ where my nude scene was cut,” Hathaway quipped. “So I’ve been trying to make up for lost time ever since then.” Gyllenhaal also took the comedic route. “Oh, you can tell them,” he says to her. “We’ve been looking for a movie to be naked in for a very long time now.”
After seeing “The King’s Speech,” I thought it was one of the best films I had seen all year. A couple of weeks afterwards, there was an enormous buzz about the film. So The Film Strip asked its star, Colin Firth, why does he think a film that doesn’t rely on explosives, blood, guts and sex has resonated so well with many? “It’s interesting that this seems to be drawing such a universal appeal,” Firth says. “I know that the film hasn’t come out yet but it seems to be all kinds of people responding to it. How? Why? A king that isn’t even that well known in history with a particular disability which, most people don’t understand, in 1937, which most people weren’t around for? Why? How does he reach people? I actually think that on some level I’m trying to figure it out, too.
“But I think, personally, that you take normal human obstacles and heighten them. Most of us have trouble communicating. You know, we’re not perfect communicators. We don’t always have the eloquence we want. We don’t always have the language we want. Sometimes it’s much worse than that. If you’re intimidated by somebody, you see that completely. If you’re in love with somebody, you probably see that completely. I mean there are all kinds of circumstances in which you can’t summon the powers to communicate. We have fears of, you know, fulfilling ambitions. We have people who always feel there’s somebody else who throws us into the shadows or whatever. Whatever those things are, this is heightened. This is a man who has problems with communication…I mean I like stories that reflect on human virtues, not in the superhero realm. Where we have to look for qualities that come, perhaps, in a quieter form.”