×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Peter Sarsgaard

Jarhead

SOUND BITES

Which director would you like to work with that you haven’t before?? “David Lynch. He’s got his own little reality, and I’m interested in it.”

How do actors balance commerce vs. art?? “You just kind of go back and forth. There’s no balancing and no point where the seesaw is even. You run to one end, and then you run to the other. You touch all sides.”

Up next: “Nothing. In order to allow for different experiences to happen, you have to wait. The idea that is way out in left field is the one I’m most interested in, and those don’t come along that often.”

“When I first looked at it, my role seemed to go more in the gung-ho Marine territory,” says Peter Sarsgaard about his perf as a sniper in Sam Mendes’ military drama “Jarhead.” “Then it became more like somebody who didn’t realize the value of their experience until it was being taken from them.”

Sarsgaard could relate, since he was hesitant to enlist for the adaptation of former Marine Anthony Swofford’s bestselling 2003 book about his tour of duty in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

“My initial reaction was that I was exhausted. I had just done two movies and I was in the process of doing another. But I was intrigued because of Jake (Gyllenhaal) and the movie’s topic,” reveals the 34-year-old Sarsgaard, who has kept himself awfully busy of late, appearing in four pics this year and two in 2004. “In the end, it was incredible. It was one of those experiences that after you finish it, it’s more remarkable than while you’re doing it. It’s like camp. While you’re there you’re like, ‘I just want to go home,’ and when you’re home you’re like, ‘That was so great.’ ”

From buzzworthy perfs in movies such as “Shattered Glass,” “Garden State” and “Kinsey,” Sarsgaard has become known as a trusted support player. “Jarhead” is no different, in part because Sarsgaard was able to develop the character.

“The role was not clearly defined, as Sam readily admits. And there’s something interesting about diving into the unknown and figuring it out later, especially with Sam because he’s so open to ideas,” says Sarsgaard, who didn’t bulk up for the role and smoked (a sniper no-no) in the movie when he noticed the on-set trainer did. “Marines look 20 million different ways. They all don’t look like they’re on the Zone Diet. What’s nice about having the real guys around is that you figure out how the rules are broken.”

Sarsgaard, born to a military family on an Air Force base, was even able to put a very personal stamp on the role with a shout out to his father.

“There’s this (scene) where I say his call sign. I say ‘Romeo, Golf, Charlie, Romeo, Golf, Charlie.’ That’s my dad’s. He was watching it and he was like, ‘What?’ I like adding those touches.”

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • 10 Storytellers to Watch

    Variety Celebrates Inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch Event

    Storytellers from across the spectrum of entertainment — film, literature, podcasting and play writing — were honored Thursday at Variety’s inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch luncheon at Gramercy Park Hotel, hosted with partner the Independent Filmmaker Project and presented by Audible. Honorees Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of “Friday Black”; “Limetown” podcasters Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie; [...]

  • Demi Moore Corporate Animals

    Demi Moore Teases Upcoming Memoir 'Inside Out,' Talks 'Corporate Animals' Team Bonding

    As Demi Moore gears up for the Sept. 24 release of her autobiography “Inside Out,” the actress says she feels like a weight has been lifted. “Even the stuff that I may have been nervous about is completely lifting…because it’s a process,” Moore told Variety at the premiere of her upcoming film “Corporate Animals” at [...]

  • Connie Britton BlogHer Summit

    Connie Britton on ‘Friday Night Lights’ Remake: ‘You Need to Let it Go’

    Connie Britton opened up at a fireside chat Wednesday at the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit in Brooklyn by talking about one of her most beloved roles — Tami Taylor in the fan favorite series “Friday Night Lights.” When asked if a remake of the sports cult film and Emmy-winning TV show is in the works she [...]

  • Mariah Carey Tracee Ellis Ross

    Mariah Carey, Tracee Ellis Ross Celebrate Biracial Heritage at “Mixed-ish” Premiere

    Mariah Carey and Tracee Ellis Ross embraced their “ish” at Tuesday night’s series premiere event for ABC’s “Mixed-ish” by reflecting on how their biracial identity makes working on the new show even more personal. “I’m just so thankful that this show exists,” Carey told the assembled crowd during a Q&A with series creator Kenya Barris. [...]

  • #WorldIsInOurHands Campaign

    Rainn Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Joaquin Phoenix And More Join #WorldIsInOurHands Campaign

    At the 44th annual Toronto Film Festival last week, in addition to attending red-carpet premieres and promoting films, some stars also joined in the fight to tackle the climate crisis. Antonio Banderas, Susan Sarandon, Joaquin Phoenix, Rainn Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Neve Campbell and Alfre Woodard are among the bold-faced names to join forces with the [...]

  • Hopper Reserve

    Dennis Hopper's Dying Wish: His Own Strain of Marijuana

    Even as celebrity brands are starting to flood the emerging Cannabis market, Hopper Reserve stands out. The brand was launched by Marin Hopper, Dennis Hopper’s daughter from his marriage to Brooke Hayward. Hopper Reserve is a gram of California indoor-grown flower, two packs of rolling papers, a pair of matches and a trading card either [...]

  • Lowell Smokes Cafe Marijuana

    With Cannabis Lounges, On-Site Consumption, Marijuana-Infused Meals Go Legit

    Can this century’s Roaring ’20s repeat history but with pre-rolled joints instead of whiskey flasks and soccer moms as the new flappers? This month, West Hollywood will see the opening of the nation’s first at least quasi-legal cannabis consumption lounge, officially dubbed Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Café, located at 1211 N. La Brea between Fountain [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content