What turns one person on leaves another cold, of course, but there's no denying the heat on screen in "Love & Other Drugs." Jake Gyllenhaal, 29, plays Jamie Randall, a cocky pharmaceutical salesman who falls for an emotionally guarded young Parkinson's patient named Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway). In the R-rated film out Nov. 24, the duo, who played husband and wife in 2005's "Brokeback Mountain," share several intense sex scenes and bravely reveal nearly every inch of their enviably toned bodies.
Though they're not a couple in real life, they're one of the more convincing young screen pairings to come along in a while. And it helps that they were guided by Zwick, 58, who directed one of the most frank romances of the '80s, "About Last Night..." Here the three talk to EW about the sexy movies they watched before shooting, how they choreographed the film's most physical scenes, and why they're always texting each other now.
Entertainment Weekly: When you first read this script, were you at all scared to take it on?
Jake Gyllenhaal: I immediately fell in love from the first 10 pages, and by the end I was weeping. It felt like this weird sense of fate. I went to Ed and basically begged him. I was like, "This part was written for me."
Edward Zwick: When we met, I saw things in Jake that I had not seen on screen. And that's what you want. Then somebody said, "Did you ever see Jake host Saturday Night Live? You should look at it." And I did. [To Gyllenhaal] I'm not saying you got this part necessarily because you were in drag.
Anne Hathaway: But it didn't hurt!
Zwick: He was self-mocking and aware of his comic persona. And then, getting to know him-that was the real thing.
Hathaway: My reaction wasn't as clearcut as Jake's. I remember thinking, "What potential."
Zwick: She sensed something wanting in the script. She sensed a deficiency in her character.
EW: Which was what?
Hathaway: All the different facets of Maggie, they all had a central root, which was denial and fear of the future. We had to find a way to thread that through the entire character. And the script that I got, that wasn't there. But I believed Jamie and Maggie were in love.
EW: Ed, were you at all hesitant to cast these two together since they had already played a couple in Brokeback Mountain?
Zwick: I'm so clueless that I had forgotten.
Gyllenhaal: He's really on it.
EW: Was there anything you two learned about each other on that movie that was helpful for this one?
Gyllenhaal: Our first interaction as actors in a scene in Brokeback, the rhythm was just on. It was like dancing. We only got a little taste of what it was. But I remember that feeling. You know the actors that you're just going to go somewhere with. We're also both inherently musical. That musicality is what I think makes us really compatible and makes it easy to love her on screen and in life.
EW: Did you maintain a friendship in the years since Brokeback?
Hathaway: It was more of a bump-into-each- other casual thing. [To Gyllenhaal] I was always happy to see you, but we didn't really reach out to each other. I kind of felt more bonded to you than I felt that we were friends. I feel like we're friends now. But I always thought of you and was sending you, like, positive vibes and things.
EW: So who signed on to Love & Other Drugs first?
Zwick: Jake was first. I thought of them at the same time, but the truth is, it took a little bit of a process for Annie to be comfortable, to know that she'd be really understood and listened to. For this kind of a part, asking what I was going to be asking of her, that made sense.
Gyllenhaal: When Ed and I were doing a dual wooing of Annie…
Hathaway: Not a bad experience, by the way.
Gyllenhaal: …we said, "We've got your back, and there's going to be love around, and you're not going to turn around and have people whispering." Once we convinced her, that was what happened.
Hathaway: We had two weeks of rehearsal. It was literally the three of us in a room, playing. And talking about books that moved us.
Gyllenhaal: And watching some pretty racy, sexy scenes from movies.
Hathaway: And saying, "All right, this is turning me on right now!"
Gyllenhaal: When you watch these movies about people who supposedly spend the rest of their lives together, it's always odd to me that the girl, after they've slept together four or five times, would have her body covered and be shy in front of the person she's going to spend the rest of her life with. And then you have the shot of him getting up and you see his butt. There's always the, like, walk-to-the-shower shot. There's this weird cliché that happens that's gotten under the skin of audiences. That's not a really good cinematic representation of love.
Hathaway: Talking about the sheet not being placed just so, Jake and I were in this amazing take, and he turned and caught the sheet and pulled it off me. And I wasn't going to yell "Cut." I just thought, "Go with it, Hathaway. If it was theater, you would go with it." And I did. And of course that is the take that is in the movie.
EW: You have a lot of chemistry in that scene. Is that something that's just there, or can you manufacture it?
Hathaway: Yeah, you can, but it's not as much fun.
Gyllenhaal: There's, like, this little door that you open up and you're like, "You down?" "Yeah, I'm down-let's do it." And the door closes when the scene ends. Yeah, it's sexy when we're doing it. And then it stops. But she could probably talk to a wall and have chemistry.
EW: Your first sex scene, in Maggie's kitchen, is particularly carnal. Was it choreographed, or did you just go at it?
Gyllenhaal: I've always felt, particularly with women, it's good to have a dance, like choreography. "I'm going to turn you here, then that's going to happen."
Zwick: We put a pot there [on a kitchen stool] that we knew was going to get knocked off.
Gyllenhaal: We were, like, fake having sex and being like, "Knock the pot off, knock the pot off." I was not focusing on her at all and instead focusing on knocking the f---ing pot off for Ed.
Hathaway: On one take you swung me into the pot! The lack of clothing meant that there wasn't a lot of padding, so I was constantly bruised. That scene that you were just describing? I had a welt on my knee.
EW: So there were days where you guys were just lying in bed with nothing but a little patch on for 9 or 10 hours?
Hathaway: Yeah. It's very strong tape.
Gyllenhaal: It supposedly was the same tape that they used on Pirates of the Caribbean to keep everybody's wigs on.
EW: Do you just get desensitized to it after a while?
Gyllenhaal: With the crew I was like, "Who cares?" If you care, it's going to suck in the movie.
Hathaway: I didn't want to make a big deal about nerves. Of course, there is that revoltingly embarrassing moment when you have to take your clothes off in front of strangers. I mean, I don't go to the beach in a bikini for a reason.
Gyllenhaal: An unfortunate thing for the rest of the world.
Hathaway: Aw, thanks. So for me, this role was pretty out-there in terms of the way I usually am in public concerning my body. So I thought, "Okay, I'm going to be in control. I'm going to do everything properly, disrobe at the last minute, and in between shots get the clothes back on." But then I found that every time I put my robe back on, it rubbed all the body makeup off, and that added 20 minutes to filming. As with all things in life, the second you stop making it about you and you make it about everyone else, it just got, dare I say, fun. There wasn't anything to be nervous about. It was another scene.
EW: So if you two are closer friends now, where does your relationship go from here? Do you hang out more now than you did before?
Gyllenhaal: We do hang out more now.
Hathaway: I now have a go-to cooking teacher, which is wonderful. (Cover Story, page 28)
For more on this week's cover story and the background story behind EW's Love & Other Drugs photo shoot, go to EW.com!
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