Jake Gyllenhaal Was ‘Trapped to a Chair’ While Filming Netflix Movie ‘The Guilty’

Jake Gyllenhaal and director Antoine Fuqua filmed The Guilty in 11 days. But it felt longer than that for Gyllenhaal. The actor recently revealed in an interview how he felt about being “trapped in a chair” during the filming of the upcoming Netflix drama. 

Jake Gyllenhaal said the shooting schedule was grueling

Jake Gyllenhaal in a close up.
Jake Gyllenhaal | Rocco Spaziani/Archivio Spaziani/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

The Guilty premiered September 11, 2021 at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2021. The film stars Gyllenhaal as Joe Bayler, a police detective who has been displaced in his job and sent to 911 operator duties. The movie follows a day in which he struggles to save an anguished emergency caller. 

It’s an English language remake of a Danish film directed by Gustav Möller and released in 2018. 

Riley Keough, Paul Dano, Peter Sarsgaard, David Castañeda, Ethan Hawke, and Christina Vidal appear in supporting roles. 

In an interview with The Wrap, Jake Gyllenhaal shared that the shooting schedule mirrored the real-time plot in intensity and what it was like to shoot half-hour long takes. 

“It was 20 pages a day shooting 20-30 minute takes,” the Zodiac star told The Wrap during TIFF 2021. “And I thrive in that space, but I was trapped in a chair. Antoine trapped me in a chair. Every time I wanted to move, I’m a very physical person, a very full-bodied actor, and to only be in a chair and having to express ended up doing a number on me as we got farther and farther into the story.”

Gyllenhaal added that the experience brought “feelings” to the surface, which also helped reveal things about the character he plays. 

“Stillness is one thing, but then being trapped is another thing, and it brought out a lot of feelings in me and reveals a lot about this character too.”

The actor said the feeling of being closed in only intensified

According to Gyllenhaal, the feeling of being trapped on set intensified as time passed. The actor told The Wrap that the three cameras involved in the shoot got “closer” to his face over the 11-days of production. 

“Let’s say you’re on a huge Zoom in front of a lot of people you can’t see,” said Gyllenhaal. “There are three cameras shooting you, and over the course of 11 days, the cameras that are shooting you start getting closer and closer and closer to your face.”

Jake Gyllenhaal compared the entire experience to being in a “partial gravity room.” 

 “All the actors were on Zoom, and the rhythm started to get set for us, and over a number of days we had to start our line even before the other one finished it, knowing that we were not going to hear the end of the line, but knowing that it would be recorded as if we were going to be interrupted…It was like you were in a partial gravity room trying to keep your feet on the ground.”

As far as Fuqua goes, Gyllenhaal said he knew he would be ready for the challenge of such a demanding experience. 

“I knew he would be down to get rough,” Gyllenhaal said of Fuqua. “And if I said five days he would say four. I’d follow him wherever. He was like quality control and someone who I knew wanted to get to something truthful.”

The Guilty is scheduled for a limited release starting September 24, 2021. It will be available to stream via Netflix on October 1, 2021. 

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