French Screenwriter Shivs Jake Gyllenhaal With Bizarre Claims

The French director behind the survival thriller Soudain seuls is apparently still bitter that his original vision—an English-language version with Jake Gyllenhaal and Vanessa Kirby—didn’t work out.The studio says “creative differences” were to blame, but Thomas Bidegain clearly blames Gyllenhaal and has unspooled a litany of bizarre allegations against the two-time Oscar nominee.In recent interviews

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The French director behind the survival thriller Soudain seuls is apparently still bitter that his original vision—an English-language version with Jake Gyllenhaal and Vanessa Kirby—didn’t work out.

The studio says “creative differences” were to blame, but Thomas Bidegain clearly blames Gyllenhaal and has unspooled a litany of bizarre allegations against the two-time Oscar nominee.

In recent interviews, Thomas Bidegain groused that the film, which was to be called Suddenly, fell apart in the summer of 2src21 “because the American actors want to take power, because we didn’t want to tell the same story. And everything collapsed.”

Among his colorful complaints: Gyllenhaal did a script reading in a Pepe Le Pew accent, cried while listening to a Greta Thunberg speech, and demanded a car that was not red or white for a long drive.

One of the interviews, in the French film publication Technikart, went viral on Wednesday, bringing Bidegain’s grievances—Gyllenhall wanted the script to include a scene where he slaps a fish! He had the temerity to swim in the freezing ocean! He was worried about COVID during a pandemic!—to a global audience.

In Bidegain’s telling, he and his would-be stars clashed over the script and other matters for four days while holed up in an Icelandic fishing village until he finally had enough, convinced the producer to pull the plug on the $28 million project, and fled Iceland after one last “hell of a party.”

Kirby supposedly reached out to Bidegain a few weeks later about the possibility of buying the script from him. The director claims she and Gyllenhaal were still interested in the project, but did not want him attached.

Bidegain said one of his producers instructed him not to sell, saying, “Never in this life, let’s piss them off—we’ll rewrite it in French and shoot it with great French actors.” In the denouement, the scorned director then went on to do just that and released his Frenchified film—no fish-slapping, as far as we know—in December.

Gyllenhaal’s team would not deign to comment on Bidegain’s tirade. The studio, Studiocanal, had a far more sober and very diplomatic description of what happened in Iceland.

“Creative differences are very normal, if unfortunate, regularities in film development. In this case, there were concerns which simply could not be overcome despite great efforts on both sides,” it said in a statement. It added that it is “happy that Thomas Bidegain was able to fulfill his vision on the French language version of Suddenly. We remain deeply committed to our working partnerships with both Thomas Bidegain and Jake Gyllenhaal, with whom we have always enjoyed a very strong creative relationship.”

The full truth of what happened over those four days in Iceland may never be known. But one thing is for sure: It would make a heck of a movie.

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