'Stronger' star Jake Gyllenhaal on playing a Boston bombing victim

Gyllenhaal appears on 'Popcorn With Peter Travers' to talk about his role in the film 'Stronger.'
19:30 | 09/29/17

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Transcript for 'Stronger' star Jake Gyllenhaal on playing a Boston bombing victim
We shall the world that they can't greatness no matter what penalty to. Lilly gave me a little hope meaning he'll as Wesley. That's we'll. James. What shape and yeah. Yeah. Hi everybody I am Peter Travers this is popcorn where we tell you what's happening at the movies and there's a movie now called stronger. Starting my guest John Hall which I think. Gets you six ways from Sunday and in ways you don't expect when you're seeing a true story so at all I'm gonna say about it except. You did a terrific job thank you so who. What got you into this story Jeff Bowman what was it that when did it come to you. It came to me early on before there's a filmmaker on it. I read the screenplay. And I called up the head of Lionsgate who is you know. Developing in and I said but that's part is that well let's find filmmaker first. And they eventually found David Gordon Green and came back to me with David and David says I'd love you to play this part and and I sit a great. Do you make it sound so easy so annoying yet in retrospect everything seems that way. But you got it done yes what do you playing. Jeff Bowman real guy that went through this yet who's with us. Who we saw on those photographs in just it was 2013 yeah April between thirteen it running Dave he dairy is that the Boston man under some. Ward his girlfriend yes his on and off girlfriend on in Moscow and he was there because they had sort of been a bit rocky and so he went to some border she. Says to him and as was saying their lives you miss this thing I invite you this you don't con me don't show up and then. In tecumseh supporter in the exercise and then he. The wrong place. Loses both his legs and I and you know it's that's who actually our story begins. If I were playing somebody who went through that ended that would be on mine in my head it. You know it is Jeff gonna feel about one I've just done that's all I thought about every day it's what I think about now to this day and didn't say after he saw it would review. It's a way. I was supposed to be in Boston and he changed as is Jeff he changed the date of the screening like three times and it's I was like. OK he's I think I'm free for a week I can come on Fridays and greatly so that they that cats are it can't and now he's a wonderful loving fathers that have to pick up Nora and we have to ticketed doctorates in sunscreens. You know so I could make we don't care about your movie no rap no net cup milk and I texted him after side solace whole family. And I and a text back. Good job. But but but but all hope. You know. A lot of time however because there god is in an article. It is but I've worked with me that's like that when he is good yes like you won the academy and I but I still would like. I was like I should have an action scene solutions it and it really think it was really emotional for him initially and then the next day after the screening we talked. And he was. Sort of letting everything was kind of coming back to in a lot of ways that you can't. Expect someone who's been through he's been through to see a movie about it particularly I think we trying showed experience in the movie. And not have time himself you know to just do you know metabolize it it's. That was the that was the first part we watch it together at Toronto film festival premieres and he and I sat next to each other this incredible. Housing credit what he's doing when that's happening a you make looking at each other. Or not or we're we're. We're clue what we were very close and there are moments were both crying and there are moments when. We are laughing you know a lot together and you know some of the lines there in the movie are his line you know they innings he actually said you know things I took things jump on our screen screenwriter took. So there were a lot of things that. We just we were cracking up and cried together and at the very end of the screening. There's a spotlight that came on him and he turned me is like what do I do and I said act and a and he stood up and their 2800 people Leon aides and between people Austin. A standing ovation and it was so. I think what was incredible about it was of the story that showed everyone in that audience. How much strength it took to get to the plate Gentoo for history it's. And it was they just watched. That in the movie they've seen that the ordeal of doing that where you basically see guess. Teaches. Agonize it's extraordinary. To watch him walk to today to see how much he's grown within us finishing the movie from the first and I met him two years ago. And then some to finishing the movie a year ago. And then. Now I mean he was I'd say attend his face that. He was suck in air when I first me you know I couldn't get down a buck. And now we're walking around five miles of the time all day long going to for this movie talking about the room gonna party's standing on the whole time and it's extraordinary it is a he is he is. He shows us in my opinion kind of superhero and olufsen you know and he makes the seeing. No matter how hard it gets you know you can get through it. Yeah and all of that inspiration is there but what's also there is this sense. This happened to me I don't want to be this year yes I just showed up. For my girlfriend and yet and this happened yeah everything is so human in because she could have made a movie that was inspiration. Purely. But he's got problems was girlfriend. And mother. With the people in this life like everybody. Is sounds like us get. I think there. I lived through that this is what. Well he's you know I just don't I don't see a life without the mass. You know whatever that is for all of us and I don't I don't think you can tell story about. Where he got two in the inspiration he is without showing the deep pain you know. I feel like. That was the most important thing for all of us is not shy away from baton because how can you appreciate. What you have you know there are moments very few it to might lose at all and I think that's really. Where David Gordon Green director and cut tennis lions so yes she's an extraordinary she's news. I mean I think that's where we all knew when we needed to go. And I think that's probably why when I first met Jeff I was really intimidated. By him because I I knew somewhere everything that I we're trying to to be fraudulent comparatively to Israel experience. And but I knew was important and I think that's of movies are for. I'm so excited that. Twelve and a half years later. The CD of Sunday in the park with George is actually happy that we've been waiting you know Mandy Patinkin this year I don't know why he sat there and we would disgusting him watching you and yeah. The dissolving in tears while. That was happening we were both and that's a show. I remember seeing an original production you're in cradle or for five years old palace for four yet objects that's how I love hearing it. But I feel the same plane anybody that's a part of that yet. Falls apart in terms of what it and learn any field where of artistic and our yes. It's different it's every. It eats. Dot seemed to George you've now if it comes from you then it'll be yes this. Don't worry so much you steal more think less yeah it. When you take the advice of Stevens I don't we all do but it's like very hard to do you know the first time you were on the show and maybe the second. When ever I ask you this thing. We do here with Hugh Jackman for print ad Allen great moment and I said well two of you do something together. And he fit I'm has seen next to him everything inside of me issue river link up with. I think there's like nothing left of me as a purse could. Then. You know I turn around and you're doing little shop of horrors at you know plain that and then sent mystery and mr. now I don't like. I hate. But really because. What right do you have to do that after everything else actually be good. It's is that the origins irritated that he actually kept saying anything it. A little but my ego so huge. That I just kept thinking how I sounded win. I'm when I was doing things to do it sounded better than me tell. Ali it's immediately thank you yeah I mean that show. I have to state. The person who. You know got out all that out of me and brought me on the stage to sing for real and suggests. Throw in my fear was Jenny story you know jeans yeah there were upon so Geneen was really the person who inspired image is starting she commits to do that a shop. And then we Baghdad and back kind of broke through the initial fear and then she turned me after that it yet but he George. And I was like are you kidding and and she's I know we're gonna do it. And then we did the concert of it and then we. All of a sudden because it was a great success grew up on Broadway which is just. Absolutely magical in any and every way. I can't even I I can't put into words. How grateful I was every night walking around in that show it was like he. The privilege of my career and then when Mandy Patinkin came backstage after seeing it show he came on a Sunday. How perfect and I didn't know it was there and I had this overwhelming feeling that some my heart was just kind of bursting at the end of this. Performance. And I walked off in the wings and my Dresser turn me and said its main use here because you'd always joke. We'd always say they can't get anything ever heard it human rights it was only that he thought just turned up. You would though I got I got desensitized to mr. sondheim's which is strange but I did could you be there at random times but but Mandy. Was someone I grew up with listening to all of his cast albums but they can't sell an insane for George the cinecast settlements secret garden and it goes on and on and on. And so light and ever met him and in Nome. And journalists that he's here they have I'm gonna go changes I know he's here. And he walked backstage. And I was we just hugged each other and cries. For her like what felt like thirty minutes that was three. But it was just incredible I mean it was the you know people talk about these moments in his career where they meet somebody who is such an inspiration to our or they. Someone wins an award they do it ever that that was moment for me that moment I just couldn't believe it was happening I couldn't believe it well. You know a different generation and it's the same show and it speaking. To Mike I don't really classic things do. Yeah become timeless yes in their own way even though it's written in the past and this is happening that. I. A yet you know could use of the showed two you know. It's I don't know it's like it becomes personal yeah. I felt that before we didn't do it and Olivia utterly. And I food healthy this Ali yeah yeah I got lot. Isn't thing to do George and OK you know. I'd be yet performances and so tapped him my bathrooms I mean it's like how is that maybe so we you do when George good luck. You know like six yes that I thought. Not a we can't wait it was like you better not mess that and you know but you have it you've had this careers since. I think what parents talking about and we tried we found the scenic view as Billy crystal's side. Repairs. Where you're just this brat kid he says he. And their parents are visiting school and you're ashamed of him and say my father's a submarine command yes this how what he would keep in. You LA and cycle to just it is it's just there and I don't know what to do with this is that this gas industry itself but you're number that's what you. It's very memorable opening for so many reasons having been father who had to go to that Klecko yet so that rates it it yet yet so what happens then I hated you and you'll only child that the team. Real key are so easy to do I learned but you know that when you look at that yours. If I did you. Look a little at what is your own work and say that there is three or four things that not because. Did the best things or you won the most awards we've got the most prized but they meant something the year yet that in terms of who you now what those things being. Movies movies or order anything that you've done. Could have been a school play. Com you know I would say. Death well I mean there are those things I think one of the biggest things that I was and I wasn't cast. And things money dating generals. What was your bitterness most of what you lost welcome how he had when a I was in high school I I was pretty cocky and I was a senior high school and I've been number shows. And my. Acting teacher in high school was they were doing. Remember with who they were doing actually. And I went is that the title has also auditioning professionally for things I would go off after school and I would go on auditions. And I walked in the ask Annie get our night you know 10 leads show and a commented the addition mounds like our I mr. lost she later by anti toll and he gets in this place and another addition. Those linked take. And went back the next keep the cast aside now it was a non. And I went war what you know why do you mean you have. And when does real obvious that what's going he said. You know you're lines. You came in thinking I could feel like you Wear pretty he. He asked me about another obvious he said. You have to keep in mind that in order to be. A real actor you have to have humility and respect for the moment here and you could. And I don't want somebody in the show but does that. And that was I think at a young age. One of the biggest lessons had. I had and probably will ever learn in terms of the process I remember him coming to the set an October sky which I was cast him. And that the musical which isn't in the spring he cast me as Teddy and Fiddler on the Roof but I got October sky. The movie and as I could play attendance is on the roof. I think the world's been deprived of your test. Just wait just wish he hits coming yes that and an even bigger beard and he's he's void -- yeah love of beer ads on the level dealing do I love them. Benedict Eric like Scott Elliott register at their would you work a lot and you challengers awful lot what you're doing as witches. As we always and they show. It's in song. You can't say it to mean. You can't do that crap home I'm sorry. I need to be prepared I need 24 hour it is blood there you are singing you know. I'm I'm watching sending him and and you're doing finishing that sort of a absolutely complex song you and you write their present and saying yes she looks for me. Good. And if they you know I don't care what you should go back to your high school band Sox. I think the way so what's on do you wanna hear. I think we should if you remember yet it is that art isn't easy is just very appropriate. Four. What you've done with younger and don't let anybody in your profession as basically trying to yeah so I'd like Hulu remember yes there it is. I don't know fired don't know Hillary have any of cash on the outs today. General I think so art isn't easy. Even when you're hot. Advancing aren't as easy financing it don't know. Financing it is not open. The vision system vision if it's only in your head. And then and then and then and then and then and then that. If known gets to see yours good is dead it has to come to light. At with the names in my van and it goes through a lot of that eight. We should go area. Bit by bit putting together piece by piece only way to make a work of art as a mom makes a contribution name B 52 plays a part having just the vision is no solution. Everything depends on exit from should put together. That's what counts. And I am putting together. All not how it's. And I hope I've. Personally need a good foundation otherwise it's risky from the start takes a little cocktail conversation but without the proper preparation having just the vision is no solution everything depends on execution putting it together. That's what counts. And then you. Yeah I can you put it's not analysts celery song I don't think I wanna sing and move on my view. We'll we'll do that or next. F. I'll need my preparation didn't stop. Stop worrying where you could only move. If you can no way you're going you. Her arm just keep move. Being. And. It's heartbreaking. That sounds amazing it is that all song is as look at what you've done not a where you are not at what you'll be. Look at all the things you've done for me opened up nine news who has taught me how to steam notice of the treaty. As a percent funny in my that's on me I don't have but aren't these the greatest thing and it applies to you applies the stronger it applies to everything else when you're creating something that's you know a blank page you know. Canvas every day's favorite. Yeah we could talk about it we could do it I don't know wiese next time when we do move on we'll do it but right now. Look I'm can graduating you expedient for everybody that's in this county really did put it thing yet. Thank you so much for having me always to see.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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