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Jake Gyllenhaal to bring the house down in Demolition

Published 11/09/2015

Jake Gyllenhaal attends the premiere for Demolition at the Toronto International Film Festival (AP)
Jake Gyllenhaal attends the premiere for Demolition at the Toronto International Film Festival (AP)

Hollywood actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts proved that the Toronto International Film Festival can still draw big stars as it kicked off its 40th anniversary celebrations.

The festival, which is often regarded as a crucial stop on the path to the Academy Awards, opened with the gala premiere of Demolition, a film about a successful investment banker who demolishes a house after his wife dies in a car crash.

Gyllenhaal, 34, recently played a boxer struggling to deal with the death of his wife in Southpaw and again takes on the role of a widower. Watts plays the woman he makes an unlikely connection with.

Gyllenhaal's arrival at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall was met with deafening screams from fans who had been waiting for hours in the heat.

Speaking on the red carpet, he said: "This was a very interesting role in that there is a simplicity and quietness to this character.

"A lot of times I have had to go on long journeys to find a character and this time the director forced me into his space and it was an uncomfortable place to be.

"The movie says grief can be anything, really. We have a conventional idea of what grief is supposed to be and particularly movies give us that idea; they teach us how to supposedly love or supposedly hate or fight, and this movie is so beautiful because it doesn't say grief is supposed to be anything, it is whatever you make of it and as long as you move through it, you're doing alright."

Director Jean-Marc Vallee, who is responsible for Oscar contenders Dallas Buyers Club and Wild, allowed Gyllenhaal to actually destroy the house on camera.

The actor said: "When I was tearing up that house it was incredibly cathartic, you feel like a kid. It is a lot harder to create than to destroy and I do feel like we live in a world where it is easier to destroy than to create, but it is really, really hard to pull apart a house yourself."

Other films expected to make a splash at the festival include Ridley Scott's The Martian, starring Matt Damon; a Hank Williams biopic starring Tom Hiddleston; and Black Mass, which stars Johnny Depp as crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs until September 20.

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