Jake Gyllenhaal's erratic behavior cost "Suddenly" director $26 million, led to film's major revamp
"Suddenly" tells the story of a couple who, while globetrotting, end up stranded on a deserted island, battling for survival. Mélanie Thierry (Laura) and Gilles Lellouche (Ben) eventually assumed the lead roles. The film was shot in French, a departure from the director's original intention to film in English, a change attributed to Gyllenhaal's onsite behavior.
Did Gyllenhaal's behavior disrupt the production?
Variety reported that the celebrity, recognized from hits like "Labyrinth", "Nightcrawler", and "Spider-Man: Far From Home" and his co-star Vanessa Kirby potentially cost Thomas Bidegain's production 26 million dollars. In a "Technikart" interview, the French magazine, the director divulged what it was really like collaborating with the actors on the set.
According to the conversation, issues with "Suddenly" arose during the final stage of pre-production while working in Iceland. Gyllenhaal was reportedly unpredictable, demanding drastic changes to the script.
Among his more peculiar requests was a scene where he, portraying a military veteran, would "pat a fish". He was also said to have asked production members to sleep in their vehicles to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Furthermore, he and Vanessa Kirby were reportedly reading their lines in their screen tests with a cartoonish Pepe Le Pew accent. Another actor from the set allegedly tried to acquire the script to re-shoot the production with Gyllenhaal, ostensibly bypassing Bidegain. At that point, the director informed the stars their ideas for the film were irreconcilable with his vision.
"We each had our own interpretation of the meaning of the film. I tried to diffuse the situation once, twice, and then I realized that it was not going to work, so I had to cut ties," Bidegain recounted in an interview with Variety.