Interview with Jake Gyllenhaal & Annaleigh Ashford | Sunday In The Park With George


So, how’re you guys doing? We’re good thanks. How is it being in the UK? Annaleigh: Glorious, this city is magical. I’ve always wanted to live here, I also found out from my 23&Me that I’m really British. So I feel like I’ve come to the homeland! Jake: Did it say on your 23&Me ‘really British’? Annaleigh: It did.
Presenter: Oh perfect. Annaleigh: Yeah I’m like 70% or something crazy. Jake: Did that happen to you too? Presenter: Yeah, 100% British. Jake: Really really British. Presenter: Cool, so you obviously performed this back in 2017. Are you looking forward to performing it back together again in the summer? Annaleigh: We are
Jake: Ecstatic Annaleigh: We’re truly honoured to be coming to London
Jake: We are. Annaleigh: To share this masterpiece with the theatre community that not only cares about theatre in a way that’s active but also there’s such a support here for theatre. Financially, you show up! It’s incredible. So we’re just honoured to share the piece. Presenter: So you’re looking forward to bringing it to the West End from Broadway? How is that going to be, bringing it to London? Jake: There’s nothing like this show. I mean, there’s nothing like performing this show. And I don’t think there’s any real experience like this show. I’m gonna say, hands down on the West End, and really ever. They wrote a show that is unmatched, and I think we’re back again doing it because we haven’t quite wrestled it to the ground. You know, it is just constantly changing and constantly evolving. It is a show about process and it’s unfinished for us. So, we’re going to try our best again to finish it up, and there’s no better place for us than here on the West End. Presenter: Were you kind of involved in the conversation of bringing it to the West End? When did you find out plans of the transfer? Jake: When the lights went out on the last song of the show, when we did it on Broadway. We just whispered to each other, see you on the West End, right? And then that was it, that was it. No I mean there were conversations about it because even when we were doing the show, we wanted to continue it. We had a short run because we had the theatre for a short period of time. We had done it in a sort of whirlwind when we first did it. We had done a concert of it, and then that was so
Annaleigh: -successful. Jake: So successful that we moved it to Broadway within a few months. That was a mad rush and so everything was done so quickly. When we got to the end we were like ‘Oh, we were just at the beginning’
Annaleigh: I remember being in previews and James Lapine came on stage at one point to change something and he was like ‘Oh, I can’t change it cause I can’t change the lights’ and he looked at me and he went ‘I’ll do it in London.’ Presenter: Amazing, so can you tell us a bit about your characters and the relationships and obviously the differences between Act 1 and Act 2? Jake: It’s a show that spans 100 years, and the show begins in 1880’s where Georges Seurat who I play in the first act is starting to paint his very famous painting ‘La Grande Jatte’. The painting that we all have come to know. His subject, who is his lover named Dot, aptly named obviously because his paintings are all made of dots. The first act is really about their love, and their love affair and him painting the painting, and the irreconcilable differences that they have, and the second act takes place 100 years later in 1983. His great grandson who I play, also named George, and his daughter who Annaleigh plays who is 98. His great grandson is an artist who’s very successful but is not fully satisfied with the art that he’s making. His grandmother imparts a lot of wisdom on him and the second act is about the creation of a family ultimately, and that that is its own work of art. Presenter: How is it playing those contrasting characters, is it hard to switch between the roles? Jake: Both of mine have a beard so it’s
Presenter: -nice and easy Jake: works fine. No it’s difficult.
Annaleigh: I have one of the fantasties of my lifetime, getting to play a 90 year old woman. I’ve been trying to do that since I was five. Jake: Me too.
Annaleigh: So for me there’s a great physical transformation that I have to make with the character. But it’s such an honour, it’s just truly a gift. Presenter: So finally, the show is called Sunday in the Park with George. What is your ideal way to spend a Sunday? Jake: In the park with George. Presenter: Nice, get that plug in. Annaleigh: Oh we’re going to have Sunday off!
Jake: No we’re not going to have Sunday off. Oh we are going to have Sunday off in London!
Annaleigh: We’re going to have Sundays off in London. In the states we had one matinee on Sundays.
Jake: Sundays off in the park with George! Presenter: You can practice your British-ness. Jake: I have a feeling that might become a difficult thing for people to understand. They’re going to be like ‘It’s called Sunday in the Park with George, we’ll go on Sunday!’ Presenter: And they can’t! Annaleigh: We’ll never sing ‘Sunday’ on Sunday here!
Jake: No, we won’t! Oh that’s weird. That’s true, unless we’re like doing something for the show where we’re singing ‘Sunday’ on Sunday. Annaleigh: Which doesn’t seem likely. Jake: ‘Sunday’ on Sunday. It’s like Sondheim on Sondheim. Annaleigh: We’re gonna do a new-
Jake: Just stick around! We’re gonna talk nonsense, so you don’t have to ask questions, just watch us lose our minds!

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