Jake Gyllenhaal discusses Life’s unique twist on sci-fi

On Friday, the film Life will be released in theaters. Directed by Daniel Espinosa, Life is a science-fiction horror film that stars
Jake Gyllenhaal as David Jordan and Rebecca Ferguson as Miranda North.

Gyllenhaal was the last actor to be on board with the film. In an interview with the Daily Trojan, Gyllenhaal said it was the plot and many other elements such as the director Espinosa that
attracted him to the enthralling and terrifying script.

The film follows a crew aboard the International Space Station struggling to study, understand and survive on Mars against extraterrestrial life. While many other science -fiction films have been released before, Gyllenhaal emphasizes why Life is different than films from the same genre such as Interstellar and The Martian.

Gyllenhaal discussed why Life’s science fiction is unique among all the other films .

“Obviously [Life] is in a similar genre but ultimately, this one is specifically individualistic because it is all in zero gravity and leans more toward horror,” Gyllenhaal said.

Life is the first science-fiction film to be completely shot with the actors on wires, in order to depict the zero gravity of space. In the film, the astronauts aboard the space station come to realize the alien life they’ve encountered is dangerous and struggle to fight it. The movie follows the theme of the survival of mankind, not just for the astronauts but also for the humans close by on Earth, and is more terrifying than the classical movie sense, according to Gyllenhaal.

Gyllenhaal said he had one of the best times on set ever while shooting a movie. Working alongside actors such as Ryan Reynolds only enhanced the shooting process and the two became very close while working alongside each other on set.

“Honestly whenever you have a movie with Ryan Reynolds in it — it’s going to be fun,” he said. “He is inevitably an extraordinarily funny comedian.”

The majority of the film depicts the astronauts in zero gravity, and Gyllenhaal discusses the difficulties with portraying the acrobatic movements.

“It takes a little bit of time to get your bearings in an environment like that,” Gyllenhaal said.
“You’re hanging upside down or in the scene you’re literally spinning around when you’re trying to have a serious conversation with somebody … Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s abnormal.”

Many of Gyllenhaal’s dramatic scenes entailed him floating around on wires that caused him to find and constantly recenter his balance. He also added that coaches were always present on set to help the actors. The scenes where the space vessel collides into other objects was especially difficult to film because the actors had to take serious, physical pains to make the zero gravity motions look genuine, according to Gyllenhaal.

“But the normal state — there is no normal state,” Gyllenhaal said.  “There is no up or down, there is no right or left in the International Space Station. As a result, the movie has that feeling too. I don’t think the audience will ever know which way is up or down, or right or left.”

Gyllenhaal is fascinated by movement; he believes that it’s half of acting. He said the actions in Life took the most time to master. As chaos continued, Gyllenhaal emphasized that the way each actor moved was specific to his or her character.

“The hardest part was shooting zero gravity,” Gyllenhaal said. “It was always a challenge, but I don’t like to do anything that’s not.”