Jake Gyllenhaal felt a whole new sense of appreciation for medical heroes while filming his newest action flick, Ambulance.
“I think this movie is a love letter to EMTs and first responders,” Gyllenhaal told Los Angeles magazine at the premiere of the film in Hollywood.
“For me, the biggest thing I felt when I was in the ambulance was the idea that we were acting in it and it was tough because there was no space, but I can’t even imagine what it is like trying to save somebody’s life in a space like that,” he added. “It just made me think about them every day, especially since we were filming in the second wave of the pandemic here in LA.”
In the breakneck thriller from director-producer Michael Bay, decorated veteran Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) desperate for money to cover his wife’s medical bills, asks for help from the one person he knows he shouldn’t — his adopted brother Danny (Gyllenhaal). A charismatic career criminal, Danny instead offers him a score: the biggest bank heist in Los Angeles history: $32 million. But when their getaway goes spectacularly wrong, the desperate brothers hijack an ambulance with a wounded cop clinging to life and ace paramedic Cam Thompson (Eiza Gonzalez) onboard.
“The best part about it was just driving down the streets of Los Angeles with the roads closed going 60, 70, 80 miles per hour. I mean granted it was an ambulance, but still, it was pretty thrilling,” Gyllenhaal said.
In 2020, ABC News reported there were more than 1,000 high-speed car chases in Los Angeles per year. Thus far, the only ambulance chase in current memory occurred over the July 4th holiday when an unidentified woman stole an ambulance from the scene of a fire near 49th Street and Compton Avenue. Though she sped through residential neighborhoods and downtown streets with the ambulance’s sirens and lights activated just south of where the film was shot, she did not have any hostages onboard when she was ultimately arrested. Filming a similar story with that added pressure, was just part of the fun for the actor.
‘My heart was pumping the whole time,” Gyllenhaal said of filming such an adrenaline induced film. “Michael Bay has a very particular way of making movies, so everything was an adventure. Every day had different qualities to it that you would have never expected and I love that. I love being in a place where creatively, you’re never really sure of what’s going to happen.”
The insane chase through the iconic LA River was the product of Bay’s powerful connections growing up in the city, and his wild creativity, spontaneity and imagination.
“That was not written in the script. It was not planned. It was an idea Michael had when he got access to the LA River and happened to have two helicopters available that day and he just came up with the idea,” Gyllenhaal said. “A director in a smaller sense would say, ‘Oh I have these two actors, and this and I have an idea, let’s try to improv this scene.’ His was the same thing, just with the LA River, two helicopters, a bridge and two actors and an ambulance.”
Universal Pictures’ Ambulance hits theaters this Friday.
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