Jake Gyllenhaal has enjoyed a surfeit of critical success and awards buzz over the last decade, including for acclaimed features such as “Prisoners,” “Nightcrawler,” “Southpaw,” “Stronger,” and “Wildlife.” But despite that run, the actor has not received Academy Awards recognition since his performance in 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain” found him among that season’s Best Supporting Actor nominees.
Could that change in 2021? Gyllenhaal is back front-and-center in Antoine Fuqua’s new film “The Guilty,” which reunites the actor and filmmaker after “Southpaw” and will debut on Netflix in October.
In the film, a remake of the 2018 Swedish original, Gyllenhaal plays a 9-1-1 dispatcher who becomes embroiled in an apparent kidnapping that upends his shift in unexpected ways. The new trailer for “The Guilty,” which screens at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival before a limited theatrical run in September, puts Gyllenhaal in the spotlight: despite an all-star cast that supposedly includes at least the voices of Ethan Hawke, Paul Dano, Peter Sarsgaard, and Riley Keough, “The Guilty” stays focused on Gyllenhaal’s character as he slowly tries to save the day. (The cast list has been kept mostly quiet because, as Gyllenhaal explained, “part of the fun is people trying to guess who the actors are.”)
“The Guilty” was shot over 11 days during the coronavirus pandemic, a time period that coincided with Fuqua testing positive for the virus. As a result, he directed most of the movie in isolation away from his cast; Fuqua and Gyllenhaal didn’t even meet face-to-face during the production.
“I had to have eyes on set [and] our main cameras, and a way to communicate with my actors via Zoom and phone, when it needed to be private,” Fuqua told Entertainment Weekly. “Jake and I would only physically see each other from behind the studio wall. Jake would climb on a ladder and I would open the door to my van, and we would communicate. I definitely missed the close contact with my crew, but everyone stepped up and we found a way.”