Jake Gyllenhaal has become one of Hollywood's brightest young stars, taking on challenging dramatic roles, and even gaining an Oscar nomination for his turn in 'Brokeback Mountain' -- all before the age of 30. However, his latest project may be his most surprising: summer-movie action star. Gyllenhaal will star in 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time' -- opening May 28 -- as an agile, sword-swinging adventurer with a beautiful princess by his side.

Legendary Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer brought 'Prince of Persia' from a long-running video game series to the big screen. 'Persia' tells the story of street-wise Prince Dastan, who must stop the evil Nizam from using a mystical dagger that controls all of time. Gyllenhaal's Dastan must fight off Nizam's dark forces and protect history from being erased forever.

Jake Gyllenhaal has become one of Hollywood's brightest young stars, taking on challenging dramatic roles, and even gaining an Oscar nomination for his turn in 'Brokeback Mountain' -- all before the age of 30. However, his latest project may be his most surprising: summer-movie action star. Gyllenhaal will star in 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time' -- opening May 28 -- as an agile, sword-swinging adventurer with a beautiful princess by his side.

Legendary Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer brought 'Prince of Persia' from a long-running video game series to the big screen. 'Persia' tells the story of street-wise Prince Dastan, who must stop the evil Nizam from using a mystical dagger that controls all of time. Gyllenhaal's Dastan must fight off Nizam's dark forces and protect history from being erased forever.

The anticipation for 'Prince of Persia' has been building steadily, with a built-in fanbase nervously hoping that the film adaptation does justice to the beloved video game franchise. To show how serious and faithful they were to the 'Prince of Persia' story, the cast and crew have been bringing the film to the fans. Last month, they stopped at San Fransisco's WonderCon to unveil never-before-seen clips to a few hundred lucky audience members. Then last week they premiered a brand-new scene at Moviefone, displaying a sneak-peak of the Prince's action prowess.

Jake Gyllenhaal spoke with Kevin Polowy about 'Persia's' appeal to fans old and new, the toughness of bulking up, answering criticisms and reflecting on the impact 'Brokeback Mountain' still has on his career.

What do you think will surprise audiences about 'Persia' when they see it in its entirety?
I think it's surprising, actually, how good it is. I think there's a sense -- particularly from the gaming world -- there's a sense of "What's this character going to be? We've lived it for so long in our living rooms and now someone else is doing it. They could have this or that or whatever." I feel like what's exciting about it is just how much fun it is. It's fun, and it has twists and turns that are totally unexpected, and this is coming from a film snob.

Was it nice to enter this world of escapism and "play battle" after real-life movies like 'Rendition' and 'Jarhead'?
Yeah, that was fun. Daily sword-fights and stunts. Another fun part was being so theatrical, acting-wise; it was suspending belief as far as we did with this movie, and actually trying to bring it to some kind of reality. I think making movies is fun no matter what, even if it's tough dramatically or the story-telling is darker. But it was a nice respite from serious stories.

When the first pictures from the set hit, everybody was buzzing about the "jacked-up Jake." Have you ever felt so objectified in your life?
[Laughs] The answer's yes. That's the nature because a picture is just a physical thing, so you can project whatever you want onto a picture. The amount of work we're doing is not necessarily there, except in physical form. I expect nothing else; people aren't going to be like, "Wow look at him, he has his shirt off, what an incredible performance, he must be giving a great performance." [Laughs] That was a natural aspect of that ... I think that's the big part of the movie. The physicality of it.

What was the hardest part of packing on all that weight?

There was nothing hard about it. I was paid to get in shape. [Laughs] Why is that hard? There is nothing hard about that. Most people go to work, and then they force themselves to go to the gym, and I had to go to the gym for work. The hardest thing I think was being able to get flexible, because acrobatics and stuff like that take a real flexibility. Along with being big enough to fight people and seem like you could fight people. There were a lot of times it was inhibiting because normally, if you're a gymnast, you wouldn't have huge, big arms. But there was nothing really that hard about it, it was pretty much fun.


Have you played the game series often?
I played the game in its original form, in that side-scrolling version. And then I played it when I started researching the role. But I hadn't played the current incarnations. I was more of an original Nintendo fan.

Do you listen to the criticism people have when they complain about casting white people to play Persians?
No. It's funny that people have asked me that in interviews and I've been like, "... huh." I've never been asked, "Do you have a problem with someone saying you couldn't play a cowboy?" I feel like a character is a character. It's hard for anybody to say anything until they've really seen the movie. Like I said, everything is just an idea until it becomes a reality.

Did you have many discussions before deciding on a British accent?
There wasn't a lot of discussion about it. If my instinct had said that was a weird thing, I would have spoken up. But the first thing Jerry [Bruckheimer] said to me was, "I just want you to know, I think you're all going to have British accents." I said, "Oh, that works." Particularly because everybody in the cast is British. I think there is something about it that is more classical. When you have a proper British accent, just by its nature -- Shakespeare and classical works -- [it] always sort of sounds correct.

Jerry Bruckheimer movies are often criticized as over-the-top. Do you ever pay attention to the divide between critics and audiences, and how they respond to movies?
No, I don't pay attention to that. I don't mean to be punny here, but that's a critical mistake. For someone like me, it's like looking at something in playback. Since the advent of playback, you have the tendency to want to go and see if something is believable. But you'll know when something is believable, if you feel it. You don't always [feel it] as an actor, but you should be working with someone who you have faith in, who would. And I think it really frees you up. It's the same thing with any type of criticism; I think you lose a sense of yourself or a sense of the character you're playing, and I have learned -- a little harshly -- not to put my hand on that hot kettle.

It seems like everybody looks at "'Brokeback Mountain' vs. 'Crash'" as one of the biggest Oscar upsets. Do you ever get flustered over that, or do you feel like those events are out of your control?

The irony is we made that movie for 12 million dollars. And I know that's a lot of money, but in the world of making movies, compared to something like 'Prince of Persia,' it's very small. And it had this massive success financially [and] critically. To me -- and I really don't mean to seem like a cliché -- but I have people come up to me on the street daily who say that a movie like 'Brokeback Mountain' changed their life. Award or no award, it doesn't matter. What matters is an audience has seen it and has been moved. Yeah, I think there's a want in everybody to say, "I want to win this, or do this." But I think in the end, we won so many times with that movie, it's amazing. That experience I know will be with me for the rest of my life, in so many ways.