The “Prince of Persia” movie, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, comes to theaters this week. When I saw the trailer for the movie, I can’t help but notice that his physique has changed greatly. So, I set out to research what he did look like the Warrior Prince h e’s portraying.
A Little Background on Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake has really come a long way in his acting career. With parents both in the film industry, his father is a director while his mother is a produce/screenwriter, it’s no surprise that Jake has been acting in films since he was 11. But, my first exposure to his acting was in Donnie Darko which came out in 2001. The movie was about a disturbed teenager who had visions of a gigantic bunny rabbit encouraging him to commit crimes. Even though this movie was a little on the weird side, it gained a cult-like following when it was released on DVD. Of course, I wouldn’t do Jake any justice if I didn’t mention “Brokeback Mountain” where Jake plays a gay farmhand who gets romantically involved with Heath Ledger’s character. Surprisingly, I saw this movie with my two, male college roommates who were into film arts of all sorts. Yes, they totally date women. But, I digress.
One of my favorite Jake films is “Jarhead” which came out in 2005. This film really made me take notice of him because he filled out his Marine uniform nicely not to mention his acting skills…haha. Judging from his physique back then which you can see from some pictures taken in between takes in Jarhead, he must have gained 15-20 lbs of muscle in preparation for Prince of Persia.
On a more serious note, Jake really did go all out in terms of physically preparing for his role as the Prince of Persia. This movie was based on a Ubisoft videogame of the same title and features a warrior prince who, together with his princess, fight against dark forces who are after a dagger which is capable of turning back time. This movie was made by Disney which means we can expect some amazing effects. When Jake talked about his role in “Prince of Persia” with Entertainment Tonight he said, “I over-prepared myself [physically] because I never knew how much they were going to ask me to do, so I just made sure I’d be hopefully able to do anything.”
I’m sure that it’s not coincidence that Ubisoft is releasing a sequel to “The Sands of Time” which is the first Prince of Persia game. The sequel is entitled “The Forgotten Sands.” Here is a short preview of the new game:
The trailer for this video game really take me back to when I used to watch my brothers play their role playing games(RPG) like Tomb Raider and Resident Evil. It amazes me how true to life these trailers look thse days.
The Role of Prince of Persia
In 2009, Jake started training with Simon Waterson to turn himself into the “warrior” that he needs to look like for this movie. Waterson, who is a trainer to the stars and also a former Royal Marine, is responsible for training the lead actors for the previous five James Bond movies, including Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan. When asked about Gyllenhaal’s training, Waterson responded, “There’s an increasing fusion between the worlds of fitness and film. Most actors are athletes nowadays. Their fitness is a big factor in whether they get cast or not,” he says. “Jake has to look like a warrior capable of sword-fighting, not like he’s been hitting the gym. He is working out twice, sometimes three times a day, six days a week, for three to four months on top of stunt rehearsals before filming begins.”
Here is the Trailer for the movie if you haven’t seen it already:
Jake went through Parkour style training to prepare for his stunt moves. If you haven’t seen or heard of Parkour before, it is basically people jumping or running from building to building or from different physical outdoor structures. Since he needed a lot of relative strength to lift his body and perform his stunts, this type of training was ideal. Here is a good video of people performing Parkour to give you a better understanding of the sport:
When Gyllenhaal was asked about his stunt training at Wondercon, an annual comic book, science fiction, motion picture conference in San Francisco, he replied, “Well, I’m going to stress this – I tried everything, but I didn’t always succeed at everything. So what I didn’t succeed at, someone else had to pull it off. But it was difficult, but also really fun. I mean when you get parkour down, or the essential idea of parkour, it really is an extraordinary sport because there’s an ease to it and it ends up not feeling that hard.” He worked out two to three times a day along with Parkour for 4 months to achieve his warrior-like physique. If you can see from his picture from Prince of Persia, Gyllenhaal does not look as ripped as Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2 but this is most likely planned. He had to have the effortless look and not forced to look a certain way with a gym workout. Of course, proper nutrition also plays a role in creating his rugged look.