WEIRDLAND: Maggie Gyllenhaal, actress and hippie mother

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Maggie Gyllenhaal, actress and hippie mother

"Maggie Gyllenhaal, a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker, has immersed herself in London life over the past four months while filming her latest movie here. She’s expanded her circle of British friends, enrolled her daughter in a local playgroup, trooped around Tate Modern and various other art galleries and explored London’s bustling street markets so comprehensively she could probably write her own guidebook.
Perhaps that’s the mothering instinct, which Maggie, 31, admits has overwhelmed her since the birth of her daughter, Ramona, who will be three in October and is at home with her father, Maggie’s husband, the actor Peter Sarsgaard, in the ‘big, beautiful house’ they’re renting.‘Oh, motherhood is all-consuming,’ she says. ‘I remember people saying, “Believe me, everything in your life is going to change…” And I thought, “Why? That’s such a bourgeois way of thinking.” And then you have a child and yes, everything changes. It affects the way we live, what we do and where we go – everything. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.’ Her first film on her return, The Dark Knight, was a huge multi-million-dollar blockbuster with Christian Bale as Batman and the late Heath Ledger as the Joker, and Maggie was able to pop in and out on a shoot that lasted some seven months.
By the end of the shoot, her daughter had reached the toddler stage, and she decided it was time to return to work properly. Maggie virtually steals the show from a big ensemble cast. Away We Go is a romantic, funny road movie about a young couple, Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph), who are expecting their first child when they discover that his parents are leaving Colorado to move abroad. In the past, she’s clearly grown tired of being asked if there is a competitive edge to her relationship with Jake, her younger brother (by three years) and star of films such as Brokeback Mountain, Zodiac and The Day After Tomorrow.
During our conversation she refers to him affectionately several times. ‘He’s my brother. I love him. He’s taking a rest right now and starts working in the autumn near where we are, so we’ll see each other a lot.’
She worked with Kirsten Dunst on Mona Lisa Smile and Dunst ended up dating Jake for a while, although he’s now with Reese Witherspoon.

Her mother has, she says, been the single biggest influence on her life.
‘I think that my mother made me believe – in a way that wasn’t totally helpful in retrospect – that I could do anything. Mostly that’s an incredible gift to give, but later you kind of think, well, I can’t actually do anything. As much as you say I could have been a great ballerina, that’s not true. But it comes from a lovely place, and it really got through to me that she believed in me and that I was capable, and could really soar.

And Sarsgaard, whom she met in 2002 through her brother, has been on dad duty. ‘He’s been great. He’s been happy to be here with us and he loves spending his days with Ramona.’
‘I love being married,’ she says. ‘It definitely has shifted things. I took very seriously the vows we made that we will stand by each other, and we will.’
He has been writing too,’ she explains, ‘but I think he really wants to go and do some acting work so he’s got first priority. Then again, if Martin Scorsese calls and says, “Maggie, I need you in October”, I’m sure he’d understand… But I do definitely need a rest and, much as we love it here in London, I want to go home and just be mum.’
Home is a sprawling brownstone in Brooklyn, but they are considering moving out of the city she loves. ‘We’re starting to feel it would be wonderful to get out into the countryside. My husband would be happy to be in Nova Scotia and never see anybody – he is really outdoorsy. A couple more movies, play some superheroes, and maybe we’ll get another house.’For now, it’s time to go back to her temporary home via an impromptu bit of mothering. ‘Have you got enough – was that OK?’ she asks me, before heading off to console the young waitress, hankie at the ready". Source:

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