“I wasn’t very interested in the historical part of the story,” divulges Jake Gyllenhaal as we chat via webcam (watch the exclusive video above) about his new film “Stronger.” “I was interested in the human being who was affected by this seemingly unfathomable, impossible thing, and how they get through it.” This Lionsgate release tells the true story of Jeff Bauman, who lost both his legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, becoming a symbol of hope and courage for a shaken city. The film was directed by David Gordon Green and co-stars Tatiana Maslany as Bauman’s on-again-off-again girlfriend, Erin Hurley.
SEE Tatiana Maslany (‘Stronger’) chats ‘very intimate story’ of Boston Marathon bombing film [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]
The actor describes Bauman as “the most unlikely person to find himself in a situation like that.” Upon reading John Pollono‘s script, he was “initially surprised by his sense of humor.” When he eventually met Bauman, he found “that is the essence of who he is, that every time he comes up into any situation, he’s always facing [it] with a sense of humor.”
Bauman is also stuck in a state of delayed adolescence that threatens his relationship with Erin. “The imperfection of being human was the most interesting thing about this film for me,” Gyllenhaal divulges. “I think there is a tendency when you’re talking about inspirational stories to paint characters with broad strokes.” In this film, however, “we don’t shy away from the fact that he struggled with partying and alcoholism, and not showing up.” He adds that “even after the event, he seems to be ok with that and tries to stay in that same space, and the universe won’t let him… he is forced to grow up.”
SEE ‘Stronger’: Jake Gyllenhaal is Oscar contender in Boston Marathon bombing drama
Gyllenhaal received his first Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor for “Brokeback Mountain” (2005), a role for which he won at BAFTA. He competed at the Globes, SAG, and BAFTA as Best Actor for “Nightcrawler” (2014), and at BAFTA once more for “Nocturnal Animals” (2016).
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