Five Things You Need to Know About Prince of Persia

Jake Gyllenhaal's new flick may seem like a by-the-numbers hero movie, but some interesting bits lie below the surface

By Gregory Imler May 28, 2010 1:45 PMTags
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Seems pretty straightforward: Jake Gyllenhaal's a guy in leather garments fighting off mystical creatures and forces with the help of an attractive female lead.

Sounds like it's been done before, and—right—it has. But we were surprised to discover Prince of Persia had a few noteworthy bits of information hanging out behind its glossy, buff, Bruckheimer exterior.

And you need to know what they are:

1. Despite the seemingly whitewashed cast, producers originally did have a Persian actress set to audition. Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani was invited to try out for the female lead, Tamina. However, she ultimately never made it to the audition because Iranian authorities arrested her at the airport and banned her from leaving the country for six months.

2. Other than the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Prince of Persia is the only other movie from Walt Disney Pictures to get a PG-13 rating. But don't get your hopes up for, like, "brief nudity." Persia's rating is for "unrealistic violence."

3. Gyllenhaal recently said in an interview that one of the ways he got in shape for the film was by studying Parkour, the French art of "street running" (aka running down the street and getting past walls, trash cans, park benches and baby carriages in ways other than just walking around them, which is slow and how losers do it.)

"It's insane," Jake told E! News. "Some of those me in pretty good shape. Like when you grab onto things, hold on for a long period of time and shuffle across something from a...high height?" Definitely sounds intense...we think.

4. Persia's director, Mike Newell, has known Gyllenhaal since he was 7 years old and had previously worked with Jake's sister, Maggie, on Mona Lisa Smile. Newell told Time Out it was his relationship with the Gyllenhaals that convinced him Jake's combination of bravado and sensitivity was perfect for the part. "He looks like he has one layer of skin fewer than anyone else," Newell said. "He's tender and vulnerable in a way that a lot of people aren't. But then he made himself into an action hero. I saw him do it, step by step."

5. It's based on a video game. You knew that though, right? But did you know it's one seriously successful video game that's been around for more than 20 years and has sold more than 14 million copies?

First developed in 1989, the Persia franchise now features almost 15 titles across most major gaming systems. It even received recognition from Guinness World Records for being first video game to feature motion-capture animation. Take that, Resident Evil.

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