Ambulance's Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Michael Bay on pushing action to the limit
For EW's recent Around the Table, Jake Gyllenhaal remembers the moment when he really knew he was in a Michael Bay movie. Shooting one of Ambulance's high-octane chases — a run down the iconic Los Angeles River culvert (seen in Grease and Terminator 2: Judgment Day) with two helicopters in pursuit — he explained the director's notes he got from Bay.
"He said, 'We're going to drive under a bridge.'" Gyllenhaal recalls, smiling. "I said, 'Well, what are we shooting?' He said, 'Just drive under the bridge.' And then we were under a bridge, and he said, 'Okay, listen. Here's your rifle. There are going to be two helicopters that are going to come fly under the bridge. And I want you to shoot at them.'"
You don't expect such elaborate action sequences to be improvised. But that's what Bay, a self-described general on set, and a filmmaker who likes to capture more footage than most, prefers.
"And they're going to be 20 feet from you," Bay adds to Gyllenhaal's anecdote, amping up the stakes. "But I did say they are the best helicopter pilots in the world. It's going to be very scary. But you're safe. Don't worry."
Teasing his director from across the table, costar Yahya Abdul-Mateen II deadpans, "Yes, you said all those things. And then you say action."
"And then two helicopters came out of nowhere and flew under a bridge," Gyllenhaal says. "And then we hopped into an ambulance, and for the rest of the day drove as they chased us."
"Through water," emphasizes costar Eiza González. "Had you ever done that before?"
Abdul-Mateen has to admit it was a first. Proudly, Bay asks him, "What did you say to me on the walkie when I'm on the Porsche Cayenne, chasing you, cameras right there, and you got on the walkie?"
"I probably said like, 'This is like the coolest s--- I've ever done in my life,'" admits the Matrix Resurrections actor.
Watch the full video above, loaded with footage from the movie and exclusive insights. Ambulance is in theaters Friday.
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