You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jake Gyllenhaal and Margot Robbie on the ‘Massive Responsibility’ of Playing Real-Life People

Jake Gyllenhaal and Margot Robbie both play still-living people in their movies this year, and during Variety‘s “Actors on Actors,” the two opened up about the pressures that come with such roles.

In the film “Stronger,” Gyllenhaal portrays Jeff Bauman, a man who lost both his legs during the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Gyllenhaal said that part of his struggle while portraying Bauman was finding the balance between respecting Bauman and his situation and telling the story.

“It was a huge responsibility. I felt a pressure beyond a pressure that I’ve ever felt before in terms of playing a character,” Gyllenhaal said. “I didn’t want to pressure [Bauman] too much, but there was this massive responsibility to get it right… What I always find interesting is that you always want to empathize with whoever you’re playing. That’s the seeming job of what we do, is to say ‘how do you love this person?'”

While Gyllenhaal took the time to learn about Bauman on a personal level, Robbie preferred to keep distance between herself and former Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding, who she plays in the film “I, Tonya.” Robbie said she did her research by watching video footage of Harding.

“I knew that if I met her and liked her I would never play this character properly,” Robbie said. “I would be sugar-coating her flaws. I would be trying to justify the bad things she might say or do in a situation. I didn’t want to do that because I’m a people-pleaser and I know it. To meet her, I didn’t want it to feel like research and change any of the decisions I had already made. I met her pretty much just so I could say, ‘Hi I’m playing a character and I want you to know there’s a difference in my mind between the character I’m playing and you.'”

The seventh season of Variety’s Actors on Actors,” presented by Google Home, will air from Jan. 2-4 at 7 p.m. on PBS SoCal KOCE.

More TV

  • Globe Centred On Asia And Oceania,

    APOS: Online Video Headed for 15% Annual Growth, Disrupting Asia Markets

    A blistering 15% annual growth of online video will give the Asian video industry (TV, pay-TV, home entertainment and streaming) a growth rate nearly double that of North America for the next five years. According to a new report from Media Partners Asia, published on the eve of the APOS conference in Indonesia, Asia’s online [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    Writers Guild Says Over 7,000 Members Have Fired Agents

    Over 7,000 members of the Writers Guild of America have fired their talent agents, the Hollywood union said on Monday. As promised, the guild delivered a first round of termination letters to agents in a show of support for the WGA’s full-on war with the Association of Talent Agents. “Today the Guild delivered a first [...]

  • The Spanish Princess Starz

    TV Review: Starz's 'The Spanish Princess'

    With sumptuous costumes and a cast including a couple of familiar and beloved costume-drama players, Starz’s “The Spanish Princess,” about the travails of Catherine of Aragon, seems designed to appeal to lovers of broadly drawn historical romance. (It hits the air May 5 with a built-in fandom: Like past Starz miniseries including “The White Queen,” [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Jada Pinkett Smith's

    TV News Roundup: Amazon's 'Sneaky Pete' Releases Season 3 Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, Amazon Prime Video releases a trailer for Season 3 of “Sneaky Pete,” and “Red Table Talk” with Jada Pinkett Smith sets a return date on Facebook Watch. FIRST LOOKS The official trailer for the third season of “Sneaky Pete” on Amazon Prime Video has been released, showing off the new [...]

  • Tammy Filler Nathan Najarian NBC

    E! Expands News Coverage, Brings 'Today' Vet Tammy Filler Aboard (EXCLUSIVE)

    E! is expanding its entertainment-news programming, with plans to add three more hours of coverage to its linear schedule in 2020, Variety has learned. To help spearhead the effort, the cable channel is bringing aboard Tammy Filler, a veteran producer on NBC’s “Today,” to lead creative and production for E! News. The expansion of news [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content