Jake Gyllenhaal Recalls ‘Nocturnal Animals’ Director Tom Ford ‘Weeping’ on Set

Nocturnal Animals isn’t just any movie. It’s a movie that’s within a movie, and one that is very close to Tom Ford’s heart.

According to Jake Gyllenhaal, who joined co-stars Amy Adams, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson at its Los Angeles premiere on Friday (Nov. 11, 2016), he saw the writer and director’s vulnerable side during production. In fact, he remembered designer-turned-filmmaker sharing stories about heartbreak and, at one point, seeing him cry on set.

“He was—I guess, to my surprise—really vulnerable,” he told reporters on the red carpet. “Immediately after our first phone call that we had, he was open to me and told me how personal [Nocturnal Animals] was, and how he needed to tell the story, and how it related to so many things in his own life — relationships in particular that he’d went through.”

“There were times that we were rehearsing where he would get down on his knees and act out a scene for me, like weeping and banging his banging his hands on the ground. Basically, expressing his own heartbreak to me,” he recalled. “He made himself vulnerable to me. I tried to him and that’s the Tom Ford that I know.”

Based on the 1993 novel Tony and Susan, Nocturnal Animals centers around a woman who receives a manuscript from her ex-husband. As she reads the story, she discovers that the novel is actually dedicated to her and its female character is written to be her alter ego.

“I think it’s a story about people who have the ability to express with empathy and sympathy to someone who has broken their heart,” Gyllenhaal said of the film, “It’s the expression of regret we have in our lives and choices we have made.”

Nocturnal Animals opens in theaters Nov. 18.