On Oct. 27, 2014 we were on the red carpet for the New York premiere of “Nightcrawler” at AMC Lincoln Square. It was truly a star studded affair as the film’s stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton, Rene Russo and director Dan Gilroy were joined by Beyonce, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Jodi Applegate, Ebon Moss Bachrach, Derek Blasberg, JC Chandor, David Chase, Melonie Diaz, Judah Friedlander, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lester Holt, Kristine Johnson, Emily Meade, Bill Paxton, Rene Russo, Michael Shannon, Bob Simon, Stefano Tonchi, Chris Wragge and Michael Zegen, to name a few.
The film “Nightcrawler” starring Jake Gyllenhall, Bill Paxton, and Rene Russo, is an intense thriller, which explores the underbelly of the Los Angeles area. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Louis Bloom, a sociopath who decides one day that he wants to film accidents and crimes in order to sell it to local news stations and make some quick cash, essentially being what people consider a nightcrawler. With his business taking off soon after he starts, Lou begins to become obsessive over getting to the action first and getting all the gruesome details, so his work is the most sought after in the news industry. But once the success gets to his head, he soon loses sight of the line defining being an observer and being a participant in crime. Read our exclusive red carpet interviews below:
Q: How was it getting into character and how did it evolve throughout the film?
It was a long journey. I don’t consider myself someone who is sharp enough to do it quickly. It takes me time to prepare and there is sort of an ease in which you have to allow yourself to be alone and kind of transforming into something. You don’t want to do it in front of everybody or in process. You have to have your decisions made and go from there. It was a long journey. Once we decided that he was going to be thin and hungry in scenes, and then once deciding that he was going to act a certain way it just became about obsessively learning the dialogue and having it be a part of my life and his behavior being that way.
Q: What was the dynamic with the cast while filming?
I was really focused, I have to say. I was solely focused on one thing and ironically they are all extraordinary actors in their scenes, it was amazing. And Dan, I felt like I was going up into orbit with somebody. I wasn’t alone, he was like my partner in crime. He was like my goose.
Q: How did you get involved with this project?
Through my agent. He is like a lighthouse finding good stuff and he said, ‘Look this is a smaller part.’ And I said, ‘I would like to maybe have a bigger part,’ but I loved the script so much and then I met Dan and I said, ‘You know what? I’m in.’ I only worked a few days on it. The character kind of helps set up the story.
Q: How was filming like with this cast?
It was actually a very small cast and Riz is actually an up and coming England/British actor. He is terrific in it. Rene, she was great. I didn’t get to work with Rene, but I think she is superb in the movie. And Jake, he is on top of his game, he is hitting home runs now. I think “Prisoners” was great. He is making interesting choices. In the other film that he did was more of an art film. I thought it was a cool choice.
Q: And this film receievd such great buzz, what are your thoughts about that?
Well I just hope that it catches on with the public. It is what we call in the business a ‘sleeper.’ It’s the genuine article but it’s like, ‘Is the public going to respond or do they just want another happy meal?’ I hope they check it out because it is a little more of a cabernet.
Q: How did you get involved with this project?
My agent said that you should go meet Dan Gilroy. I met him with zero expectations. And he met me and he said, ‘Listen, you are definitely not going to be right for this role. It’s just the wrong energy,’ and I was like, ‘Cool, nice to meet you, I enjoy your work.’ And he said, ‘If you want to put yourself on tape then go ahead,’ because I think there was no expectation. I just did the tape and he really liked it, so it was quite funny.
Q: What was it like working with Dan?
It was great. You know how a lot of directors and writers have a very fixed image in their head and they don’t empower the people around them, but this guy is the king of, ‘Oh great idea, let’s try it!’ and there is nothing more encouraging than that.
Q: And you were nominated for a Gotham Independent Film Award. How does that feel?
It is lovely. Totally unexpected. Really, really proud. Dan has been nominated as well for his first movie, and I think this film is his directorial debut. I am just proud to be a part of the movie.
Q: How is it having this film premiere in New York City?
I am from New York. I used to walk up and down these streets all the time with no money in my pocket, eating at Gray’s Papaya, like a million years ago, and it is so surreal. It’s like imagine you in 30 years and you’re here and like, ‘God I was walking around here like whatever and here I am, like, I have a movie.’ It’s crazy, it’s like a dream.
Q: And how was it working with Jake, Rene, and Bill?
I mean, look at the list. They are so talented. I am so lucky to work with people who are so talented. My first film and I got A level talent across the board and I really wanted to collaborate with them and I really wanted to work with them creatively and I got the chance to do that.
Q: And you were nominated for the Gotham Independent Film Award!
My first award! I have never been nominated. I won a swimming award when I was in first grade. I think it was second place. So I have a second place swimming medal from first grade and a nomination for a Gotham Award. I don’t really seek awards but I like that they give them out.
Q: “Nightcrawler” has been getting such good reviews.
I am really lucky that I got to make something I like. I have worked on films that I liked where other people didn’t seem to like them. I worked on a movie called “The Fall.” I loved “The Fall.” So many people did not like that movie and I was like, ‘Oh this is breaking my heart.’ Here it is like I like my movie and other people like my movie so this is incredible. I have never had this experience before. Most of the stuff that I work on that I like, people don’t like.
Q: What’s next for you?
Writing a script. I want to direct. Lower budget.
Q: What got you on board with this project?
Well my husband is the writer and director so that was a good start for me. And he said that he had a really cool movie idea and he told me about it and I told him it was wonderful. And then he handed me the script and I thought, ‘Oh my god this is an incredible role,’ and that was kind of how it happened.
Q: And were you a little hesitant playing this role, working with your husband?
No, because we work together sometimes and he will throw ideas my way and we will bounce ideas off of each other so we were kind of used to it. And when I read the script I thought it was amazing, so we didn’t really have any problems in that way.
Q: And what was it like filming this movie?
It was wild. With Jake, it was amazing. We had some really great moments together and the things that I wanted to get onto the screen I was able to do, and I am happy about that.
Q: How was it like working with Jake?
He is so phenomenal in this film. He is absolutely amazing. I just hope people see it just for his performance, it’s just incredible.
Q: What’s next for you?
I’m doing a film called “The Intern” with Drew Hoffman and Nancy Meyers, so that’s what’s happening.
A fabulous party followed at the Stone Rose Lounge. The film opens this Friday Oct. 31.
Vinesh Vora contributed reporting.