From the writer of the blockbuster hit Training Day, End of Watch is an action packed film that places moviegoers at the front line of what it is like to be a police officer. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star as young LA police officers who uncover information that leads them to becoming the target of one of the most dangerous drug cartels.We had the opportunity to catch up with Jake and discuss what brought him to this film, and what he hopes audiences will walk away with.
YRB: What drew you to Officer Brian Taylor?
Jake: There were a lot of things that turned me on to this character. Brian has a back story that lead him to becoming a police officer in one of the most dangerous sections of Los Angeles. Brian doesn’t exist without his partner Mike, and it’s the heart and friendship between these two guys that really drew me to the character. Sure we’ve seen cop movies several times, but it isn’t often that a film touches on the relationship between the officers that ride together day in and out.
YRB: Police officers often get a bad stereotype, do you think this film will shed some insight into their mindsets?
Jake: Just putting on the uniform carries a certain stigma with it, and that is something cops have to work against before their day even gets started. One of the main goals with this film was to have you understand the mentality that it takes for these two guys to jump out of the car on a daily basis. We wanted to get people to see what these guys are like without the uniform. That inside the car there are just two beating hearts saving lives. Just like gangsters, there’s a brotherhood these officers hold where they are down for each other, protecting one another, that I think everyone can understand.
YRB: You shot this film in just 22 days. Did filming with a time frame like that create any pressure for you to nail each and every scene?
Jake: Well this is by far the shortest film shoot I have ever done. Mike (Pena) and I spent 5 months preparing, doing ride-along’s with the Los Angeles and Englewood Police Depts two times a week from 4pm until 4am, target exercises, sparring, and fight training 2-3 times a week. We’d had so much training under our belt that by the time shooting began, we felt it was so much easier.
YRB: What was the ride-along experience like?
Jake: I witnessed a murder on my first ride-along. It was definitely a rude awakening to see this happen right before my eyes. During the five months of preparing within the southeast side of Los Angeles we witnessed domestic violence,stolen car chases, attempted murders, and shootings, and although this isn’t a strange occurrence for police officers on a daily basis, it for sure is not something I will ever forget.
YRB: What would you most like viewers to walk away with from this film?