Maggie Gyllenhaal: The actress on switching accents, Middle East politics and going blonde

 

There are never many excellent projects Every year there are a few and you just hope you can be lucky enough to be involved in them. I feel like I've had maybe two or three projects in my life that have been extraordinary. And then other times you're just trying to find a way through something that's slightly less than extraordinary… But that's OK. That's how we all live!

I love London – I really feel like I know this city I know where to go grocery shopping, I know where the playgrounds are, I have friends here. And I really like doing an English accent. I just talk all day long in the accent so I don't have to have this embarrassing moment – more than once – of switching. It's almost like having an alter ego, or like becoming fluent in another language.

I find it difficult to stay politically informed with two little kids, and working I started running, and listening to this [radio] news station, so I'd at least get the headlines and hear half an interview. And that was enough to get me angry about the things I thought were wrong in the world, and excited about where things were right. But I've kinda fallen off of running, so I'm having a hard time.

If I am informed and can stay informed, I have an inclination to fight against what is wrong If you're part of a community, it's your responsibility to look at what's happening in that community and say something if you think something is unjust, and to support it if it's really right.

Having children has changed my outlook on life in every way I can't even remember how I looked at things before I had my kids – it's completely shifted everything. It's really hard having children.

I dyed my hair blonde because I wanted to feel better about myself [Gyllenhaal has since gone back to being a brunette] I do like it blonde, but it doesn't make you happy. The truth is: it was a long hard winter and I thought, maybe this will change my life. But it never does. I should know that by now, I'm 36 years old.

I find it hard to say no And when you have children a huge part of your life is having to sacrifice all sorts of things. I do find it hard – but it's part of the job description of being a mother.

On either side of the Israel-Palestine issue there are people with a vice grip on their point of view – and I don't think that's serving anybody And if our show [The Honourable Woman, a new BBC drama about the conflict] for 10 seconds allows that grip to loosen on either side – if something in the hearts of people opens for 10 seconds – I'll feel like something was accomplished. I don't think that's the only point of art, but it can be a very effective purpose in making movies, and all kinds of art: that it can change your mind by affecting your heart.

To say 'we are a part of this war' is radical in the United States Yet it seems so obvious, and it's absolutely true… The Honourable Woman is a thriller because, of course, the US and UK are involved, so MI6 and the CIA are involved, and there are murders and kidnappings.

Maggie Gyllenhaal, 36, is an actress living in New York with her husband, actor Peter Saarsgaard, and their two children. She has starred in blockbusters such as 'The Dark Knight' (2008) as well as independent films including 'Secretary' (2002) and this year's 'Frank'. 'The Honourable Woman' begins on BBC2 in early July

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there