Jake Gyllenhaal previously worked with director Antoine Fuqua on the 2015 film “Southpaw” and the pair had been hoping to work together again soon. That opportunity came with “The Guilty,” a remake of the 2018 Danish film about a police officer demoted to being a 911 operator who gets closely entangled with a caller who’s been kidnapped. The pair discussed the film at Variety‘s TIFF Studio presented by Canada Goose.
When Gyllenhaal first saw the original film, he was immediately taken by it – though he says he didn’t go in looking for a new role for himself. “I felt something in my bones,” he said of the character. “Partially its from my theater background – people play Macbeth, people are allowed to play Hamlet again and again, different interpretations. I felt this had a very universal theme that was essentially very strong. I could feel a different form of interpretation coming through me. I went, ‘Let’s try and see if we can make this.’”
After developing it with Fuqua for a couple years, Gyllenhaal said his feelings were confirmed when the director signed on to helm the project. “I think we felt what a transposition of that story could be in an American context and what it was saying at the time meant a lot to both of us,” Gyllenhaal notes.
Fuqua admitted when he first saw the Danish film he thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t remake this movie, it’s really well done! But the opportunity to make it with Jake and deal with issues that I feel this country is still dealing with when it comes to policing and mental health and how we are quick to judge each other – I thought that would be a challenge and important to do.”
Shot in 11 days (Gyllenhaal originally wanted five), Fuqua said the shoot was “intense” but also that he appreciated it. “If I’m being honest, I enjoyed Jake going through this process. I liked seeing him handle it.”
“The Guilty” will begin a limited release on Sept. 24, followed by an Oct. 1 release on Netflix.