JAKE Gyllenhaal put in months of physical training to prepare for his leading role in Jerry Bruckheimer’s latest blockbuster, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Inspired by the hit video games of the same name, Gyllenhaal plays the films main character, Dastan, a rebellious young prince who finds himself caught in a life and death struggle to prevent villains from stealing the Dagger of Time, an ancient and sacred artifact that can reverse history.

Bruckheimer, who also produced the three Pirates of the Caribbean films, said he believed Gyllenhaal was perfect for the role.

“I’ve always wanted to work with Jake. He’s an amazing actor, he’s very handsome and athletic, and what was perfect about him playing the Prince was this great combination of intensity and humor that he has,” Bruckheimer said.

“Jake is also very hard working. He put in months and months of training just to get as physically fit as he needed to be for this role. He also had to do a lot of preparation for all the sword fighting, all the riding. It was an enormous training period for him.”

Bruckheimer believes casting is very important and says it can make or break a film but thinks newcomer Gemma Arterton, cast in the role of Princess Tamina, has the right stuff for the film.

“It’s very hard to cast someone in a period film. Some people just look very contemporary and can’t fit into a story that is set centuries ago,” he said.

“But our casting people brought Gemma in and we read her and we screen tested her and she was magical on screen. She’s very special.”

The excitement and adventure of Prince of Persia appealed to Bruckheimer and he believes that it’s a film all age groups can enjoy.

“It’s a wonderful, exciting story with a lot of intrigue, drama, adventure and romance. It harkens back to epics like Lawrence of Arabia, which is a film that I love.

“Hopefully it has something for everyone. Like I said, it’s got so many different elements: adventure, comedy, romance, drama and a wonderful cast. I think all people are always looking to be entertained and to get away from their day-to-day lives for a few hours and Prince of Persia will be a great bit of escapism.

“I’m not a big video game player, but I can see why this one is so popular. It’s set in this exotic, original world in a different era, which makes it very compelling, and just reaching these different goals in the game, you keep wanting to get to the next level.”

Although an outsider may perceive that the grand scales of both Prince of Persia and Pirates of the Caribbean would make them similar, Bruckheimer says there is no real comparison.

“It’s hard to compare directly with “Pirates” because on those films we were working on water, which is always very difficult, and on a number of different islands, whereas for Prince of Persia we were just in two countries, Morocco and England. So it wasn’t quite as difficult, though we did have some real physical challenges with the heat in Morocco, which was reaching 50° centigrade at times.

“You want the verisimilitude, the reality of actually being on location and Morocco has some beautiful locations. We also had all these wonderful Moroccan extras who we couldn’t have found in London or Los Angeles, and because so many films have been made there, there are very many skilled technicians there.”
 



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