Jake Gyllenhaal Recounts Prince of Persia's Death-Defying Ostrich Stunts
Jake Gyllenhaal has made little secret of his nerves while shooting his intimate scenes with Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, and he admittedly grew apprehensive toward David Fincher's perfectionism on the set of Zodiac. But neither experience prepared him for the terror he'd later face on the set of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: Ostriches.
In a digression from detailing his training routine to an interviewer on the set, Gyllenhaal sunk into an unguarded moment of reflection about overcoming the birds that struck fear into his fragile, adorable heart:
I remember there's a whole scene with ostriches in the movie and there are real live ostriches, not CG ostriches. There's not a CG'ed ostrich in this movie. They're all real ostriches, highly paid, and we were all briefed on them for weeks before like "They're these massive destructive creatures that can tear your heart out with their claws." (laughs) I swear to God I never thought of an ostrich this way! And I was shaking in my boots when they finally brought them out and they're (does an ostrich impression) and I walked up to it and one of my stuntmen was in the ring with them, and finally, I was like, "When am I going to be in a f*cking cage with ostriches again in my life? I gotta get in here!"
So I got in there and they were the sweetest things. I did everything with them, I eventually did that, but every day is like that. You gotta get in there and you gotta do it and that is an experience I'll never be able to... well, hopefully ostriches will come back again... either in reshoots or hopefully in a second one. That sort of sums up the movie. (laughs)
Don't be modest, Jake. Everybody knows that no ostrich -- CG, real, highly paid or otherwise -- could ever dig a single claw through that glistening glue-on chest you wore to work every day.