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Bev Cohn: Maggie Gyllenhaal

Maggie Gyllenhaal
Courtesy Photo Fox Searchlight Pictures

Maggie Gyllenhaal
Up Close and Very Personal
By Beverly Cohn

aggie Gyllenhaal is the product of a show business family. Her father Stephen is an actor who launched Maggie’s career, and her screenwriter mother Naomi Foner won a Golden Globe for Running on Empty. Sister of Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie has established herself as a solid actress capable of creating a myriad of characters, including her latest as Jean in Crazy Heart.

Traveling Boy: How did you as the actress get past Bad Blake’s (Jeff Bridges) dysfunction and have your character fall in love with him?

Maggie: When you have a wonderful script and you’re acting with Jeff, it’s easy.

TB: Have you ever been attracted to the wrong person?

Maggie: I’ve been attracted to people who have been terrible for me. Sometimes you work through it and other times you don’t. That’s part of the reason why the movie is so good – because they are unlikely lovers.

Maggie Gyllenhaal with Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
Ms. Gyllenhaal with Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart. Courtesy Photo Fox Searchlight Pictures

TB: What made saying goodbye to Bad so difficult?

Maggie: It was hard because she loves him. She could have said, o.k. you’re clean and sober; let’s try. When we shot that scene, Jeff asked ‘can I touch you?’ I just looked down and didn’t say anything, but I wished that I could say yes.

TB: Jean is attracted to him when he’s an unkempt drunk, but when he’s clean and sober and ready to build a new, healthy life with her, she rejects him.

Maggie: He gets out of rehab but how does she know he has his addiction licked. He lost her child (Buddy) and although she loves Bad, she couldn’t take a chance. He could fall of the wagon and lose Buddy again and it would completely be her fault.

TB: How do you compare yourself to Jean and how much personal sacrificing have you made?

Maggie: You can’t sacrifice everything for your children or you’ll be an empty shell. I don’t usually like to talk about my family, but my experience with being a mother is tied to this movie. I made the movie when my daughter was almost two. Before that, I had been focusing almost exclusively on being a mother and started to get restless. I’m an actress and had so much to express. It all came out in Crazy Heart and in a way very similar to Jean’s experience because she was trying so hard to balance being a good mom and have a career. At that point, she needed something for her. I had the same feeling. I needed something for me.

TB: Your brother Jake and your husband Peter (Sarsgaard) are pretty awesome. Do you talk about your careers at the dinner table?

Maggie: We try not to. My husband has a great way of thinking about awards. There are people who don’t care, but most actors like awards, especially me. I know it’s not good for me to think about it because it’ll make me crazy.

TB: Lots of luck to you in the upcoming award season.

Maggie: Thank you.

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Let Bev know what you think about her traveling adventure.

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Thanks so much for those lovely tourism photos, especially of Ireland. I certainly enjoyed all the places you suggested, and am working towards my next vacation. Don’t forget Cuba. That’s an exciting place.

Rosalie, Los Angeles

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Enjoyed your article on Mira Sorvino. Such an interesting background – family, education, career and now human rights activist. I'm not a gossip mag fan so getting more meaty news about movie celebrities from you gives me hope that there are some inteligent life forms in Hollywood.

Peter Paul, Pasadena, CA

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Thank you, Bev. This reminded me to go see the movie, "An Education," which I had already almost forgotten about, having seen the preview a few weeks ago. I enjoy this actress quite a bit--she has a uniqueness about her and she pulls me in. I enjoyed this.

Sandeee, Seattle, WA

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Thank you Beverly,I really enjoyed reading about your intimate conversation with Forest, of whom I am a great admirer. I look forward to seeing the film "Our Family Wedding."

Yoka, Westlake Village, CA

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Thank you for the sending me the beautiful article you wrote about Ireland. We will use your recomendations for hotels in the Southern part. We plan to also go to Dublin and some other Northern cities so I will get some recommendations for these from others. After reading your article, I am getting more excited about going. I think we will be in Ireland for 8 days altogether.

Leah Mendelsohn, Santa Monica, CA

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Very much enjoyed Ms. Cohn's article about Munich, especially the visuals. Though it has been 25 years since my last visit, the piece brought back countless pleasant memories of the city and the people!! Many thanks.

Lawrence, Los Angeles

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Marianplatz and that general area is truly one of the best Christmas celebrations in the world. Between that and Oktoberfest (which I can only imagine) Munich is one of the greatest cities in the world for major annual events.

Christopher Dale, New York, NY

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Hi Bev, you have done some wonderful pieces on some great celebs...Great work. The travel articles are just wonderful too.

Scott Mueller, Huntington Beach, CA

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Your great Zurich article makes me want to go there for the holidays! I love the photos, too, especially the ones of you in the sleigh, the view over the houses and the zoo!

Anna Marie, Santa Monica, CA

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Lovely article! As a European, and having been to Zurich (albeit in summer) I can vouch for this lovely city. Great pictures, too!

Helene Robins, Santa Monica, CA

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Hi Bev,

Nice review, nice seeing you, nice website interface "...Talk to Bev" - Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Richard D. Kaye, Marina del Rey, CA

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Hi Bev,

Your interview with John Cusack is very interesting. I always wondered why these actors/actresses always get top billing when really, if you think about it, the real work come from the animators, writers and tech whizzes who spend far more hours on the movie than those actors. I know, I know, it's the all about marketing. The names of these actors are what bring in the big bucks. Still, I think these actors are way overpaid for the "little" that they do.

I remember that once upon a time, the early animation classics never mentioned the voices behind the characters. I think it was only later when Walt Disney tapped into the voices of known celebrities like Walter Matthau in the Jungle Book or Zsa Zsa Gabor in The Rescuers that the voices became a marketing magnet.

Keep up the good work. I enjoy your interviews as you peer into the lives of the Hollywood celebrities.

Peter Paul of South Pasadena, CA

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