Maggie Gyllenhaal is used to playing strong women and on the big screen and on stage, so she admits it was a little tough for her to play the emotionally wounded and vulnerable Jean Craddock in the dramatic movie “Crazy Heart.” In “Crazy Heart,” Gyllenhaal’s character is a journalist at a small-time publication who meets a has-been country singer named Bad Blake (played by Jeff Bridges) for an interview. Jean is a single mom with an admitted history of making the wrong choices in her personal life — and, not surprisingly, Jean ends up falling in love with Bad, an irresponsible alcoholic.
In real life, Gyllenhaal is much more assured than Jean is, and the actress has a stable family life that includes her husband, actor Peter Sarsgaard, and their daughter, Ramona. I caught up with Gyllenhaal at the “Crazy Heart” press junket in New York City, where we talked about her favorite country music, which person she would most want to interview in real life, and what it was like having a bunch of musicians on the “Crazy Heart” movie set.
When they first meet, Jean Craddock and Bad Blake bond over their love of Left Frizzell’s music. Did you know about Lefty Frizzell before doing “Crazy Heart”?
Did I know Lefty Frizzell as a musician? It’s interesting that you ask me that because I actually do listen to country music and it completely came from me. I was born in New York and I grew up in California and I’ve lived here for 15 years, in New York. There’s no reason at all why I should like country music and I do.
The country music that I listen to though, I’m not sure what ["Crazy Heart" producer/composer] T Bone [Burnett] would think, because it’s not influenced by where I’m living at all and none of my friends listen to country. It’s all my own thing. I didn’t know Lefty Frizzell, although I did listen to Merle Haggard and Hank Williams and some of the other old school guys that we talk about.
I didn’t listen to Lefty Frizzell until I started the movie and did the interview. But I do love Gillian Welch and Iris Dement, Emmylou Harris. I love the Dixie Chicks. I do listen to country music. And I don’t know why, I just like it. … read more »