On a Thursday in mid-January, an ice storm that will go on to create tornadoes in Texas and a 20-car pile-up in Kansas is stopping off first in California, though admittedly in less apocalyptic fashion. Los Angeles is not a town designed for rain: the candy-coloured buildings seem somehow both drab and gaudy, and as the water drips from their leaves the palms look suicidal.
Standing at the window of a tower block in Burbank, a few miles northeast of Hollywood, surveying the office buildings below and beyond them, the hills, Jake Gyllenhaal sees things differently.
“I think there’s something kind of magical about the way the palm trees come out of the mist,” he says.
And he’s right. It’s true. There is. Perhaps the 36-year-old actor is just pleased to see daylight.