Maggie Gyllenhaal Discusses ‘The Deuce’ and Joining the Jameson First Shot Competition

Maggie Gyllenhaal spoke about her exciting new series on HBO and shared some advice for ambitious young filmmakers.

The Jameson First Shot competition is designed to give young filmmakers struggling to break into the industry a chance to show what they’re capable of. Three are selected each year and one big-name actor or actress joins the project to lend the short films a star, as well as their guidance.

In previous years, Kevin Spacey, Willem Defoe, Adrien Brody joined the competition. This year, Gyllenhaal signed on to offer her skills and expertise to three winners.

“It was just like jumping in a couple of days with each director and going for it as much as we could,” Gyllenhaal told Celebuzz. “I know there’s so much more to learn but I do feel like I know something about [filmmaking] and so I felt like they were curious and hungry and interested for my thoughts, so it was really nice. There was a real ease to it.”

The 2016 Jameson First Shot winners include Kat Wood, Jason Perini and Cameron Thrower. Each worked with Gyllenhaal and Spacey to craft their shorts, offering them a calling card and invaluable experience as they take the next step in their careers.

The 38-year-old actress mentioned how much making movies has changed since she began her career, encouraging those who wish to enter the industry to use readily available technology to tell their stories rather than fighting to get work in LA’s studio system.

“It can work out,” she said of the battle to get scripts read and land jobs on big-budget productions. “But if that’s not working for you, just get your friends together and make a movie.”

Gyllenhaal’s new project is The Deuce, an HBO series about the birth of the porn industry on New York’s notorious 42nd street in the 1970s. David Simon and George Pelecanos, who were behind shows like The Wire and Treme, are currently filming the new show in and around NY. In it, Gyllenhaal plays Candy, a woman whose life is inextricably linked to the controversial industry’s first days.

“It’s the most exciting work experience I’ve ever had. I love David. I love George. I mean, playing Candy is difficult. I absolutely love her. I look forward to going to work every day.”

While the series aims to tell a difficult story, Gyllenhaal explained that, from her perspective, attempting to decide the story’s heroes and villains and it’s moral center, is a waste of time and robs the viewer of the experience.

“It is definitely not black and white… How can anyone who’s [watching] in a compassionate way come down hard on one side or the other? Porn is good or porn is bad. I don’t believe that’s possible.”

Head over to Jameson First Shot to see the competition’s short films. The Deuce premieres in 2017 on HBO.