It’s so much fun to watch movie stars be movie stars. It’s electric. That’s the best way to describe what it felt like at the Southpaw premiere in Toronto last night with Rachel McAdams and Jake Gyllenhaal.
The biggest takeaway? Not only is the movie great, but after seeing them together in person… it’s clear their chemistry is real. Whether it’s just friendship or if something happened some time ago, there’s definitely a lot of love between the two.
Rachel arrived alone (and early!) without a representative – instead, she used Jake’s. There must be some trust there. In our etalk interview, she was quick to sing Jake’s praises – first by talking about how he drives the movie:
"Oh, it was incredible. I've known Jake for quite a few years, and he really does transform. I've never seen him play anything like this before, and he just gave so much to it, and he was training really hard and rehearsing every day. ... It was really inspiring to watch."
At LaineyGossip, we’ve been rooting for a Jake and Rachel gossip genie moment since they held hands and presented together at the 2010 Oscars.
It’s a moment Jake and Rachel definitely don’t forget, either. Speaking to a photo of that night, Rachel said:
“I know, isn't that funny?? Oh yeah, crazy, we look like little babies. That was such a great night, he was so sweet. We were practicing walking backstage because my dress was so huge, he was so worried he was going to trip and rip it, so we were walking back and forth, holding hands and practicing. He was so sweet, he was a true gentleman."
Oh, and there’s more. When Jake arrived, about 20 minutes after Rachel, he said the only thing he was looking forward to was hearing her review of the movie. He’s seen it before (at all those Cannes screenings) and he wanted her take. He also couldn’t wait to show the movie on Rachel’s home turf.
But the hardest part of his five and a half months of boxing training to become “Billy Hope” in Southpaw?
"I don't like to use the word hard when it comes to making movies. Keeping my wits about me, you know? Working with somebody as amazing and beautiful as Rachel McAdams - that was the hardest thing."
Then this, when asked about their 2010 Oscar moment:
"Oh, she's so pretty. ... I don't think you can feel your legs beneath you on-stage from the Academy Awards. The fact that I didn't -- that I didn't trip on her dress was all I was excited about."
You know that line in Reality Bites from Troy Dyer? “If I could bottle the sexual tension between Bonnie Franklin and Shnyder, I could solve the energy crisis”? That’s Rachel and Jake together. They know it too. Apparently since that Oscar night, they’ve been looking to find something else to work together, and they have it with Southpaw. While it may not be romantic, perhaps it’s the start of a longterm bond? Like George Clooney and Julia Roberts?
Later on, down the red carpet, their greeting was adorable. Jake hugged Rachel, told her she looked beautiful and kept caressing her back as they posed together. It seemed rather flirty without being too over-the-top. Both Rachel and Jake were amazing to their fans, too, and signed for everybody. None of it felt fake.
But can Jake have fun?
He’s been coming off as too-serious in his print interviews lately. Last night though, he was there to play. Between the Nightcrawler premiere at TIFF in September and now, he’s become much better at answering the Oscar buzz question. He had to answer a variant of it, in a row, for 30 minutes…. about 15 times… and each answer was tailored to the outlet, and uniquely self-deprecating. Perhaps that’s Harvey Weinstein’s guidance?
"I always love the story, so it's not really about that as it is believing it's a story about family, it's why I made the movie - and it's no surprise to me people are responding like this because we all worked really hard, so."
Beyond that, it’s clear Jake has done his research. Two Canadian boxers showed up to the premiere – George Chuvalo and Lennox Lewis. Jake made an effort to introduce himself to the two, making specific notes to his take on their best fights.
He’s a mensch, who likes to have fun, and seems truly grateful for this part. In person, Jake plays it great. More to come in my review later today.