October 08, 2020
The reluctant Actor discusses his new horror film, his love of bats – and making love to a tree for wife Maggie Gyllenhaal
Peter Sarsgaard: People like the bad guy. Its distasteful but its human nature
Unlike many actors, Peter Sarsgaard got some work during lockdown: an 11-minute short, shot by his wife, Maggie Gyllenhaal, on their rural estate in Vermont. Penelope, now on Netflix, is the strange, moving story of a widowed farmer, facing a sad future, broken only by a delirious evening humping a tree.
“I’m never going to look at that tree in the same way again, and I don’t think that tree will ever look at me in the same way again,” says Sarsgaard. He’s on lockdown again with his family, this time in Greece, where they are shooting Gyllenhaal’s directing debut proper, an adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter. “That was the first thing Maggie told me about Penelope. She said: ‘I want you making love to a tree.’ And I was like” – a resigned sigh – “Oh, whatever. I’ll do it!”
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