Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are standing at the beginning of a driveway in a low income residential neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles. Earlier that day, near the film set, there was a gun battle that seriously injured a police officer and shut down dozens of blocks, so tension is high. Dressed in Police Blues, Gyllenhaal has his weapon drawn and starts to make his way down the alley with Pena flanking his rear. As he walks, Gyllenhaal’s eyes are constantly taking in the surroundings as he looks for the suspect he thinks is close by. After getting to the back of the property, the two come to a six foot cement barrier. Without hesitation, they make their way over the wall, and then I hear South Central-born writer-director-producer David Ayer (screenwriter of Training Day, The Fast and the Furious, S.W.A.T. and writer/director of Harsh Times & Street Kings) call cut.
But let me back up a second.
Late at night on August 25, 2011 I got to visit the set of End of Watch. Unlike most set visits which have 8 to 10 reporters, I was the only invited journalist, and I got to spend a number of hours talking with the filmmakers, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, as well as producer John Lesher. While I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, I learned that End of Watch is going to look and feel completely different than any cop movie you’ve ever seen and I left excited by what I saw. Hit the jump for a lot more – including the first two official images from the movie.