Starring opposite Anne Hathaway as Maggie in “Love & Other Drugs,” Jake plays Jamie Randall whose account is based on the nonfiction book by Jamie Reidy who chronicles his experiences as a Viagra salesman for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The film’s co-scribe and producer Charles Randolph who first got hold of the book finds it very intriguing, “Jamie wrote about experiences I thought were analogous to films like Jerry Maguire, Wall Street or any movie where a young man goes into the workplace with ideas of what the world is going to be and the world beats them out of him,” recalls Randolph.
Director Zwick says the roles of Jamie and Maggie represent significant steps for the two actors. “[As Jamie] Jake’s not just romantic, interesting and charming, he’s enormously funny. Jake’s sense of humor is nothing new to those who’ve known him socially, but up to now we’ve never quite had the opportunity to see that on film. He has a great leading man quality and is extraordinarily at ease, and that comes of maturity and experience. Jake’s work in this film allows us to witness a younger actor become a leading man, and that’s very exciting for a filmmaker and, I think, an audience.”
Gyllenhaal’s Jamie is the black sheep in a successful family. He’s the ultimate seducer, and would have been perfectly happy to float through life minus the burden of responsibility or connecting to anyone…until he meets Maggie. “He’s bright but a bit self-destructive,” says the actor. “He’s content to be successful with his life as a salesman of a revolutionary drug – a job for which he’s perfectly suited – and continue to succeed at fake connections. He’s an expert at those because he’s a great performer.
The movie is set in the late 90s, a moment, says Zwick, “when the fabric of American life changed forever” because for the first time, drugs became commercialized. At the top of the sales and advertising charts was a little blue pill called Viagra, a new treatment for erectile dysfunction. Viagra’s blockbuster sales trigger Jamie’s ascension to the top of the heap as a Big Pharma sales rep. Then, because of Jake’s relationship with Maggie, he goes deeper into the world of medicine and drugs and the different strands of the story knit together and, I hope, resonate off each other.”
Jake’s discerning performance in Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain” garnered him nomination nods from Oscar and SAG Award™. He then emerged as 2006’s Best Supporting Actor in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the National Board of Review. His diverse film credits include”Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” “Brothers,” “Rendition,” “Zodiac,” “Jarhead,” “Proof,” “The Good Girl,” “Moonlight Mile,” “Lovely and Amazing,” “Donnie Darko” and “October Sky.”
“Love & Other Drugs” opens January 26 in theaters nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.