EW Are you a gamer?
Gyllenhaal When I was younger, I spent a lot of time on the original Nintendo, and I played the original Prince of Persia from 1989.
EW But you had no familiarity with the 2003 version, The Sands of Time?
Gyllenhaal I hadn’t played it. But as it happens with us actors, research is always interesting, and mine happened to be playing videogames. Sometimes you’re hanging out with Marines, and other times you’re playing games. Gotta mix it up!
EW In the game, the Prince is quite the acrobat. Were you pumped to do all this stunt work?
Gyllenhaal Yeah, but there had to be a sense of reality to it. In games, you can suspend reality to the utmost, but we wanted to have everything founded in an emotional situation. Why would the Prince jump from platform to platform? What sport would make that possible?
EW And you ended up learning the extreme sport of parkour to pull it off.
Gyllenhaal If you’re going to be the Prince of Persia, you have to do it right. I’ve actually tried jumping from platform to platform in real life, and I gotta say, it’s much more fun sitting on your couch with a game controller.
EW If there’s a sequel, are you prepared to go through all the training again?
Gyllenhaal With a plate full of protein.