Gyllenhaal poetry reading

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Jake and the other Gyllenhaals attended a poetry reading at Midnight Farm in Martha's Vineyard (Massachusetts) two days ago [i.e. August 20, 2006]. I drove down to Wood's Hole from Boston, and took the ferry over so I could attend. Jake's father, Stephen, is the author of "Claptrap," a new book of poetry. He spent about an hour reading poems from the book.

Expansion, from the vantage point of September, 2023:

When I got to Martha's Vineyard, it took a few minutes to find Midnight Farm. When I got there, I made the mistake of calling Naomi Foner [Stephen's wife] Natalie, which did not go over well with Stephen Gyllenhaal. I told Stephen that I ran a book discussion group at the Dedham Library, and I wanted to use his book for it. He seemed pleased with the idea.

It had been a long drive and I was exhausted. I saw a comfy sofa and wearily sat down. Naomi and Maggie Gyllenhaal sat at the other end. When Jake arrived, I realized that maybe the sofa was reserved for the family. I started to rise but Jake said, "Stay!" During the reading, Maggie seemed to be quite touched by it. She was expecting her first child with husband Peter Sarsgaard [who was not there], and seemed to be emotional. After the reading, Stephen seemed eager to autograph my copy of the book. There was a larger than expected turnout, and he probably thought [not without reason] that the overflow had to do with Jake's fame rather than Stephen's impact as a film director. I was on a tight schedule, having to get on the Ferry, so I didn't stay long.

As it turned out, the woman sitting across from me was a writer for the website "I heart jake," which still exists at
When I got back to Boston and posted my adventures on that site, she showed me a picture of myself, and I acknowledged that, yes, that was me. I still have a copy of it somewhere. So, yes, a lot of the people *were* there because of their interest in Jake. It can't have been gratifying for Stephen to be eclipsed by his son, and yet this did focus more attention on his poetry than it would have enjoyed otherwise.

I did in fact program "Claptrap" for my book discussion group at the library in September or October. The ladies in the group were polite. I guess maybe they were humoring me. What stood out, though, was Stephen's anguish over his father's alcoholism.

On October 3, 2006, Maggie gave birth to Ramona Sarsgaard in New York City. Some of Maggie's fans gave Ramona some sort of gift relating to pandas. Maggie and Ramona have appeared in public together in recent years. Gloria Sarsgaard, Ramona's sister, was born April 19, 2012. Maggie seems to have made the transition from actress to director in 2021 with "The lost daughter," which she wrote, directed, and produced. It won the award for best screenplay at the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 3, 2021. It received a four-minute standing ovation. At the 94th Academy Awards the film received three nominations: Best Actress (Colman), Best Supporting Actress (Buckley), and Best Adapted Screenplay. It had a limited release the United States on December 17, 2021, then began streaming on Netflix on December 31, 2021. Rotten tomatoes rates it at 94%. It also won awards form the new York Film critics and Boston film critics, Independent Spirit awards, and won the Outstanding director feature film award from the Directors' Guild.

Stephen Gyllenhaal is of Swedish and English descent. On the Swedish side he is related to Nils Gunnesson Haal, who was ennobled in 1652 when Queen Christina of Sweden conferred upon him the crest and family name, "Gyllenhaal". On the English side, he is a distant cousin of Princess Diana. He has been a film and TV director since 1990. He directed, Jake, then 14 years old, in an episode of NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street" that aired in 1994. Both Jake and Maggie were in some of his early movies. Hs last film was "So B. it" in 2016. Cantara Christopher, who published "Claptrap" was said by some to be having an affair with him. In any event, he divorced Naomi Foner and in July 2011 he married Kathleen Man, who was a co-producer on Gyllenhaal's 2012 film "Grassroots." Their son Luke was born in 2014. He won the 1992 Directors Guild award for "Paris Trout," and was nominated for the Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television/Mini-Series award in 2012 for "Girl Fight."

Naomi Foner produced and wrote "Running on empty," a 1988 film, which was nominated for two Oscars: Best supporting actor (River Phoenix), and best original screenplay. It is said that Jake became so distraught at his mother losing this award that he threw pillows at the TV. There is a magical moment in the film when River Phoenix's character is asked by his teacher to share whatever talent he his, and he goes to the piano and
plays a movement from Beethoven's pathetique sonata.,8%20Path%C3%A9tique. She won the writing award for this film at the Golden Globes, though. She is also known for "A dangerous woman" [1993], which Stephen directed and Maggie and Jake acted in. Other notable films are "Very good girls" [2013] and "Losing Isaiah" [1995], for which Halle Berry was nominated for the actress award by Image Awards.

Now for discussion of Jake Gyllenhaal. This entry began as a conversation for the guide entry Jake Gyllenhaal, American film and theatre actor

As I explain in Sept. 2023: In 2006, I wrote a guide article about Jake Gyllenhaal [see link], but have not updated it nor submitted it for peer review. What follows is a conversation that I initiated for it.

Subject: Whither Jake's career?
Posted Mar 9, 2006 by Online Nowpaulh, vaccinated against the Omigod Variant

A prominent producer apparently warned Jake against taking the role of Jack Twist in "Brokeback Mountain" because doing so was likely to alienate the teenage girls who form much of Jake's fan base. Would they still be on board if Jake played a gay character? If not, Jake's career would be in jeopardy.

Since then, "Brokeback Mountain" has garnered "Best Picture" awards from quite a number of organizations, including Britain's BAFTA (where Jake himself took home a "Best Supporting Actor" award) and the Golden Globes. Jake's work in "Jarhead" was already in theaters before "Brokeback Mountain" had its premiere, and much of the filming of "Zodiac" (or, if they rename it, "Chronicle") had been completed. Jake has apparently already committed to playing "Harvey Dent" and "Two-face" in upcoming "Batman" movies [Note: these role offers did not materialize], and he has an award-winning stage performance (in "This is our Youth," on the London stage a few years ago) under his belt. Under the worst-case scneario, Jake would still have a few movies in the pipeline, and the possibility of a fine stage career. He even had a shot at replacing Toby Maguire in "Spiderman II," but Toby unexpectedly became available in time to do that film himself [note: He played Mysterio in 2019's "Spiderman far from ome."]

Jake has worked for a lot of fine directors, and has worked with some very well-known actors. The supermarket tabloids and some of the Internet blogs have predictably picked up the theme that Jake is gay or bisexual (despite his requests that people not speculate about his sexuality or personal relationships). Jake has said that he has never been attracted to another man. In the period between the Golden Globes and the Oscars, he has been seen about town with no fewer than three young Hollywood starlets, and there is no way to know (nor any real need to care) where any of these liaisons will lead. I am just mentioning these things because, despite his 15-year career as an actor, he is only now becoming a household name in many areas. Some people who visit this site might want to read a guide article about him.

Jake's filmography since 2006 has been strong. He was a BAFTA nominee for best leading actor for Nightcrawler (2014). "Donnie Darko" and "Prisoners" are also mentioned as notable films. Other strong films: "Brothers," "Prince of Persia," "Love & other drugs," "Source code," "End of watch," "Enemy," "Accidental love," "Southpaw," "Everest," "Nocturnal animals," and "Ambulance." In 2022's "Strange world," he played the son of Dennis Quaid who had also played his father in "The Day after tomorrow." The film did not do well at the box office. In "The covenant" [2023], Jake was singled out as the only bright spot in an otherwise mediocre movie.

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