Jake Gyllenhaal rewrote his ‘Prisoners’ character to make him more mysterious

“It’s not like a bad screenplay made into a good movie,” Gyllenhaal said. “But sometimes you just add things and they’re completely different from what was on the page.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19: Jake Gyllenhaal attends the "Strange world" multimedia event at Picturehouse Central on November 19, 2022 in London, England.  (Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney)

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Jake Gyllenhaal has made a big career out of playing sleazy, menacing, and generally weird men. He’s a master at making himself the guy you know is up to something, but you just don’t know what. While his physical appearance and acting skills go a long way toward creating this effect, Gyllenhaal is more than willing to participate in the writing process to make his characters weirder.

Appear “Gay” to promote his role in Guy Ritchie’s “The Covenant,” Gyllenhaal recalled his experience with Denis Villeneuve in “Prisoners,” which turns 10 this year. In the twisty thriller, Gyllenhaal plays a detective who tries to track down two missing girls while one of their fathers decides to seek his own way of vigilante justice. The role of Detective Loki was prime material for Gyllenhaal, but the actor explained that he requested some changes to make the character more unsettling.

“The character was written one way, but I saw the essence of something else,” Gyllenhaal said of his first impressions of the script. “In the first draft, it was a much tighter character. Rather, he was trying to find an answer. “Finding the answer” was the most interesting part. I don’t think the external effects of this were that important. But they became important to me. I wanted the character to be mysterious – but determined – so the audience was dealing with two things at once.”

The actor also revealed that he’s always been a fan of Aaron Guzikowski’s original script and didn’t see him trying to impose a different vision on the project. He simply saw his additions as adding extra layers to the character that made the game more interesting for him.

“And so to me, it’s not necessarily like a bad script turned into a good movie,” he said. “But sometimes you just add things and they’re completely different from what’s on the page. But still with the same intention.”

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