Any Guardian sit-down worth its salt has to include a not-so subtle evaluation of the star's interview habits, and this new one with Maggie Gyllenhaal is no exception. "She sits directly opposite me, her feet planted firmly on the floor," the interviewer tells us. "She asks for a camomile tea and coolly, in a tone that brooks no argument, requests that the assembled public relations people leave the room while we conduct the interview." After this evaluation, it's off to the races, with Gyllenhaal delving into everything from her trepidation about doing Secretary -- "in the wrong hands, in even slightly the wrong hands, even in just slightly less intelligent hands, this movie could say something really weird" -- to everything that went into her performance in Sherrybaby. She's especially frank when it comes to the movie's sex scenes. "I find those scenes hard to watch," she says. "But when I was making them, I was thinking how Sherry would be thinking: I've been in prison for three years, I want to c*me."
Gyllenhaal also owns up to some tussles with directors over the years, but she's too polite to name names. When asked about what her most difficult acting experience has been so far, she replies that she once "realized very early on in a shoot that I was at odds with the director, and I had to go through the whole shoot trying to figure out how to stay alive as an actress, when I was being squashed by the director." For the record, it wasn't Oliver Stone -- she says that she loved working with him, and describes him as being "nuts, but totally inspiring." As for the movie she's shooting right now, The Dark Knight, Gyllenhaal has nothing but praise for how she's being treated. "Doing Batman has shocked me at every turn. When I started, I thought 'Well, it's a huge movie, I'll just do my best to put what I can into it. But, in fact, they've been really hungry for my ideas, for my views. It's great! They've been asking for more!"