In “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” Jake Gyllenhaal plays Prince Dastan, a talented and athletic warrior who must save a dagger that, if it falls into the wrong hands, might destroy the world. Talk about a challenge. But the actor tells us the role — which required him to buff up quite a bit — all came down to researching and studying … the video game, that is.
You were an indie guy, once upon a time. Are you hooked on big productions now?
I really liked it. It’s a kind of drug — when you’re jumping over things, fighting people, looking like a badass, it’s hard not to want to do it again.
You worked out to prepare for the film. But did you also play the original video game it’s based on?
Yes, and it was a very difficult research process. I had to exercise and play video games [laughs]. I’m not a card-carrying gamer, but I definitely love video games. As a kid, I played the first version of the game, on a Mac. Then I took a 20-year hiatus. When I got the script I was fascinated because the primary resource for this is the video game. I played like I would meet a marine if I was going to be a marine or go to prison if I was going to play someone in jail.
Were you expecting so much buzz on your buffing up?
Well, it wasn’t made on vanity. It was on functionality, to try to make all those stunts. There’s been some curious approaches, like: “Oh, you did those stunts, cool. But how do you look like that?!”
Did you get hurt?
Yeah, some pulled shoulders and bruises, but it’s funny — it’s also sick! You kind of want to get hurt. There were moments that I would smack myself, all cut, bleeding, and I was like, “Awesome!”, and call the other guys: “Hey, guys — I have a cut!”