In an interview with The Onion’s A.V. Club this week, Maggie Gyllenhaal said she had refused the part of Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight because she had no interest in playing a woman “in peril.”
The truth is, what I didn’t want to be was just the sort of empty lady who gets thrown around by different guys and doesn’t have anything to do but look scared. I just wanted her to be a real person.
It’s understandable, then, that her male co-stars in the film have given quotes to the media about Gyllenhaal’s steadfastness in not being a damsel in distress after she did eventually take on the role. Even when her character is being threatened by The Joker at knifepoint, Gyllenhaal does not flinch (something tells me the original Rachel, Kate Holmes, would have started to cry at this point.)
Gyllenhaal has a strong sense of the roles she wants to play, and her instincts haven’t seemed to fail her yet. Even in her smallish role as Rachel, she is convincing (and stunning, of course) as a lawyer who knows Bruce Wayne’s secret vigilante identity. Though the male stars of the film have been getting most of the attention, Gyllenhaal graces this month’s cover of Marie Claire. In the story, her co-star Aaron Eckhart is quoted as having said, “Maggie’s got a lot of sass. She has very strong opinions on acting and things outside moviemaking. She’s not afraid to speak her mind.”
Full of sass, opinions and undisputed talent, Gyllenhaal alone is worth seeing The Dark Knight. But to truly experience all of the above, rent Secretary or Sherrybaby, where she’s the rightful star.