Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena Are True Blue in Cop Drama ‘End of Watch’
Photo: Open Road
Yahoo! Movies rides along with stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as they discuss playing partners and being true to the men in blue of South Central Los Angeles in David Ayer's bullet bromance "End of Watch." In a lighter moment, Gyllenhaal joked: "You mix a little 'Serpico' and a little 'Police Academy' and you get 'End of Watch.'"
Thelma Adams: What was the scariest thing about making "End of Watch"?
Jake Gyllenhaal: Honestly, the scariest part of this movie was making sure that we connected as partners in a real way. We emulated the partners that we spent time with on the streets in South Central L.A. in an authentic way. You see actors in movies playing police officers often performing their idea of what a police officer is. And, I think, for us it was about creating something that was like a real ride-along with two police officers, as close as actors can become to being police officers.
Michael Pena: The first meeting I had with [writer-director] David Ayer, he said, 'You guys have to act like brothers, and you guys have to spend a lot of time together to become brothers, and even then you have to spend more time, and then you're going to shoot." Sometimes it felt like I was really talking to [Jake] and not just a character, which I think adds to the reality of it. We wanted it to look like improvisation, like it was the first time we were saying it. And we had to rehearse for five months in order to get that feeling.
[Related: See showtimes for 'End of Watch']
TA: Did you ever go off script?
JG: Everything was recorded all the time. We shot this movie for $7 million in 22 days. It was the shortest I've ever done in my entire career. I made a movie called "Donnie Darko" that we shot in 28 days. So that was the shortest one I had done until now. It took a lot for us to prepare. We spent five months on the street, two or three times a week on ride-alongs with police officers, sheriffs, LAPD.
TA: Toss me a detail.
JG: My very first ride-along was not with Michael. I was in Inglewood. There was a shooting, and we got there second car on the scene. There was someone murdered. That was my first experience of a ride-along!
MP: Together, we were with the LAPD and it was Code 3, literally sirens.
TA: What does Code 3 mean?
JG: Code 3 is the highest level, meaning usually there's a murder, or domestic violence …
MP: All vehicles go to the location. And we went, and there was this guy shot in the mouth, and, like, you could see the bullet hole in his arm slowly dripping because the bullet was keeping it from bleeding too much. We saw a lot of that stuff. It gives you a reality check. It bursts your bubble that you can sometimes be in living in Hollywood or whatnot. This is the movie, this is the tone that we really want to set -- like people are on a ride-along with us and they experience the movie with us.
JG: What I've heard from people who've seen the movie is that it feels like your heart is beating at the same rate as those two police officers' are. If we're out of breath from chasing a suspect, it's almost as if the audience is the same way. That's the thing that separates it from the genre of cop movies. The other thing is the relationship between these two guys. Again, you see a police officer on the street; they're in a bat suit. They're part of a community that we've all had history with one way or another, whether it's a traffic ticket or being arrested for whatever.