Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal's got a quiet grace about her. She's not a tabloid fixture, or even a blockbuster staple (though she proved her box-office cred in The Dark Knight), but time and again she shows up in little-indies-that-could like Secretary and SherryBaby. She strikes us as an actress for acting's sake, a lover of her craft. Gyllenhaal's latest film, Crazy Heart, is another critical darling, and—no big surprise—her turn as a young mother and journalist opposite Jeff Bridges has industry insiders buzzing. Just before the film hit theaters, we chatted with Gyllenhaal about her character, her daughter and Crazy Heart's crazy journey.
I haven't had a chance to see the film yet, but all the early buzz has me anxious for it to come out in Chicago. It's gotten such great reception with just a limited theatrical release! Can you tell me a little bit about your character, Jean?
I play a woman with a 4-year-old who she's been raising by herself. She's starting to really pull it together. I think she was in a pretty bad relationship before, and she's kind of a green journalist, and she goes to interview Bad Blake (played by Jeff Bridges), who's kind of a rundown country-western star, and they fall in love. It's ill-fated and an unlikely connection, although I think it is a real and a deep connection that they make—even though he's 30 years older than her and a serious drunk.