At Wednesday’s Rendition premiere, Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal offered no clues as to their current status: Friends? Lovers? Former either?
The two did not share eye contact on the red carpet and came together only briefly at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences theater to flank their director, Gavin Hood, for a quick photo before once again going their separate ways.
The two share no scenes in the political thriller, which opens Oct. 19. Witherspoon plays a pregnant Chicago woman who travels to Washington to investigate the disappearance of her Egyptian husband, who is being tortured in the Middle East under Gyllenhaal’s supervision.
“It’s interesting how our stories intersect even though we don’t talk to each other in the film,” said Witherspoon, who arrived in a teal Nina Ricci gown. “You’re anxious to see what other people do with their side of the movie.”
On the carpet, she was reunited for the first time in six months with Aramis Knight, 8, who plays her son. “Oh, it’s good to see you; I haven’t seen you in so long,” she said, kneeling down to give him a hug. “You grew!”
Witherspoon’s own children never got to meet Knight because “they were in school.” The actress, whose divorce from Ryan Phillippe became final last Friday, is trying to convince her kids — daughter Ava, 8, and son Deacon, almost 4 — to dress up like a rock band for Halloween, “but they’re not into that.”
Because of the various locales, much of the cast did not even meet during the shoot, though they shared other connections. “This is increasingly the way it is with complicated interwoven plotlines,” said Meryl Streep, whose ice-cold politician never crosses paths with Gyllenhaal. But Streep has her own personal memories of Jake as a boy. “He was a friend of my son (Henry) in grammar school and would come over to my house to play. I remember … his sister, Maggie, was having a ’20s speakeasy party, and the boys were bartenders.”
J.K. Simmons’ character also shares no scenes with Gyllenhaal, but was nearly his editor (Perry White) when Gyllenhaal was lined up to take over for Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2. “Tobey is Spider-Man, hopefully forever more in Spider-Man 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, but Jake would have been great,” said Simmons, who has heard more Spidey films are in the works.
Gyllenhaal was sporting a beard for his new role in Brothers, playing Maguire’s sibling. Both men dated Kirsten Dunst, but that topic, along with their Spider-Man connection, is off-limits.
As for not working with half his Rendition cast, Gyllenhaal admitted, “It’s a little awkward not knowing them. I was pretty confident that the film would all come together when you’re dealing with Meryl, Reese, Peter (Sarsgaard) and Alan Arkin.”
Guest Jon Voight showed up and dispelled rumors that he and daughter Angelina Jolie recently enjoyed a reunion. He made it clear they have still not spoken. “No news on that front,” he frowned.
Streep did offer some news on her 2008 Mamma Mia! film. “Shooting Dancing Queen was probably the most fun,” she said, promising, “It’ll take your head off.”