I don't like to miss an opportunity to see Jake Gyllenhaal's puppy dog eyes, but during his publicity tour for his new movie Rendition, I only managed to catch his appearance on Late Night With Conan O'Brien.
Conan introduced Jake and the audience erupted with joyous applause and cheers. Jake walked on stage well dressed and well groomed, although sporting a moderate beard. I've managed to accept male stars wearing stubble, but I'm not down with them having an actual beard. Fortunately Jake's eyes and eyebrows are so expressive it was possible to ignore his winsome whiskers.
Conan remarked that he had not yet experienced the Jake Gyllenhaal beard effect. The audience again screamed its approval, presumably for the hairy Jake version. Conan perceptively noted that the ladies and two guys in the audience were the ones vocalizing their acclaim. Jake responded by needingly asking Conan, "Do you like it?" followed by a even more longing for affection question, "Would you like to smell it?" Inexplicably, but compassionately, Conan acceded to the request. He then reassured Jake again that Jake and his beard looked great and expressed solidarity with Jake's grooming compulsions, by saying "It's how you look not who we are." Jake substantiated it with a unequivocal "Remember that!" to the audience.
Jake used the interview to show that he has no need to put on a he-man front. He told a story of being with a friend at a Red Sox game atop the Green Monster. The friend wanted to catch a baseball and when it looked like one might come his way, he went into girlish hysterics. Jake happily imitated the outburst to the viewers. Then Jake told Conan that his favorite place to visit is Japan because everyone there thinks he is funny. Jake happily did a cultural mockery of a Japanese person modestly tittering. Finally Jake sang in falsetto a little of Gnarls Barkley's song Crazy to show how he felt when he hadn't worked for six months. Confused but respectful, Conan followed suit.
Jake set the scene for the film clip from Rendition. In it, his character was having a phone conversation with Streep's about the likelihood of gaining useful information from a specific prisoner by using torture. Jake's last line in the clip was that this was his first torture. He said it so hauntingly and full of innocence, I just don't think I could stomach this movie. I still see the gentle young man interested in rockets from October Sky. Personal political comment from me: any American citizen who has participated in torture for any reason should be prosecuted in a Nuremberg-like trial.